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Shaking up the PRS sector through business-gov partnership

Natasha Ryan, Campaigns Manager

London First is working with the Cabinet Office to help steer a strong partnership between government and business to tackle London’s housing crisis, and there’s a firm commitment from both sides. We joined this week’s round table discussion with the Cabinet Office, DCLG, CBI and sector business leaders and the overriding message was a need to create a Private Rental Sector that works for all Londoners.

There is a palpable need for more secure tenures at affordable rates. A common difficulty that workers in our capital experience is finding the initial deposit to put down when moving to London, or having to move home, without receiving their previous deposit back first. Average deposits in the capital now exceed £3,000. We know the recruitment and retention issues that the housing crisis creates, but this has great implications for diversity too: London should be open to all, not just the privileged.

Earlier this year, the Mayor of London launched the London First Employer Housing Pledges that any employer can sign – big or small – to help ease the pressure on their staff. For example, by providing an interest-free tenancy deposit loan. Hear how the Housing Pledge has made a big difference to an employee at Optimity.

Some employers, like London First member Deloitte, are going even further, proposing a future where deposits will no longer be needed. Deloitte has worked with Get Living to provide graduates with safe, secure tenancies that are deposit and fee-free. Their scheme in Stratford has 1500 units, 1-4 bedroom flats, at an affordable rent. Collaborating with big and small corporates to house employees, they provide accommodation with strong security and access to transport links, and allow for long-term tenancies.

Whilst we are a far cry away from a completely deposit-free PRS, it is good to see employers thinking more creatively about offering staff secure, safe and affordable accommodation, which helps to attract and keep diverse talent here. If you are not able to broker deals for staff accommodation, please do consider some of our recommended steps to alleviate housing costs on your staff.

For more information about the Housing Pledges, or what you can do as an employer, please contact nryan@londonfirst.co.uk

Get Living London, with a model flat


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