Green councillor, David Gibson, has hailed as “a milestone” yesterday’s decision to refer the issue of ‘living rents’ to Brighton & Hove’s new Fairness Commission.
It is estimated that in Brighton & Hove 72% of households (88,000) cannot afford their housing costs without help (1) and 10,000 households can only afford to pay social rents, typically around £400 per month.
Two years ago, David Gibson, now the Green’s spokesperson on Housing, was part of a small group of local residents who, started the Living Rent Campaign, addressing an issue which affects many people across the city. Their petition calling for fairer rents was signed by over 2,500 people.
Yesterday evening the council’s Housing & New Homes Committee supported a Green Party amendment, presented by Councillor Gibson, calling for the issue to be referred to the city’s new Fairness Commission.
Cllr. Gibson, said: “There is a need for tenants to pay a rent based on what they can afford not just on what the market dictates – a ‘living rent’. Many people who grew up in this city cannot afford to live here and are being driven away from family, friends and community. This cannot be right.”
He added: “The previous Green-run council pledged to look into providing new council houses at living rents, and now another milestone has passed with the Housing & New Homes Committee unanimously supporting our call to refer this to the Fairness Commission. They will consider how living rents for council housing can be put into practice so we can start to reduce the burden of excessive housing costs which is pushing many working people into poverty.”
Dani Ahrens from the Living Rent Campaign supported the move, saying: “This is good news. There is a crisis of affordability in this city, so we welcome the efforts of the Fairness Commission to look into a living rent. What we can do locally can help soften the blow, but national government needs to tackle the roots of the problem by bringing in rent controls. Rent controls work well in other European countries and we need them here now!”