How many of us are there?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found 50,000 private renters in Kensington and Chelsea– that’s nearly a third of the total population. The current figure is probably higher, considering how much the housing has deepened since then. So there should be enough private renters to campaign with!
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Kensington and Chelsea, the average home costs 32.39 times the average income.
This makes Kensington and Chelsea the most unaffordable borough in London to buy a house in!
Why can’t they get a council house then?
Because there are currently 2,753 households waiting for a council house in the borough, and Kensington and Chelsea has major shortage of social housing stock.
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly average rents for Kensington and Chelsea, recorded twice a year by the Valuation Office Agency, are below. Remember, these figures don’t include fuel or council tax bills:
Room in a shared house: £944
Studio flat: £1.302
One bedroom flat: £1,947
Two-bedroom flat: £2,808
Three-bedroom flat: £4,965
House with four or more bedrooms: £7,755
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive then?
Yes – 2,946 private renters in Kensington and Chelsea claim housing benefit to cover their rent.
And does housing benefit cover it?
No. The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get, regardless of whether you’re a private renter (renting from a private landlord) or a social renter (renting from the council or a housing association). The monthly LHA in Kensington and Chelsea depends on which part of the borough you live in, the rates are:
Central London (e.g. Kensington, Chelsea)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £609.35
One Bedroom Rate: £1,129.44
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,310.10
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,536
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,807
Inner North London (e.g. some areas on the north border of the borough, such as Kensal Green)
Shared Accommodation Rate:£436.62
One Bedroom Rate:£1,129.44
Two Bedrooms Rate:£1,310.10
Three Bedrooms Rate:£1,536
Four Bedrooms Rate:£1,807.09
How many privately rented properties in Kensington and Chelsea are overcrowded?
The borough is ranked fourth out of all local authorities in England and Wales for the proportion of households deemed overcrowded. This is a growing and intractable issue with 5.5 per cent of households in the borough, in both private and social sectors being overcrowded.
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
For disrepair, overcrowding and infestion/pest issues, you can contact Environmental Health on 020 7361 3002 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For other issues with your landlord, you may want to make use of the Tenancy Relations Service (below).
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
Yes, the council has a Tenancy Relations Service which aims to promote good practice in the private rented sector and improve relations between tenants and landlords. To contact the service, call Housingline on 020 7361 3008 or email email@example.com.
Do private landlords in Kensington and Chelsea have to get a licence?
Kensington and Chelsea do not operate an additional or selective licensing scheme but the mandatory House in Multiple Occupation licensing applies. This means that if five or more people who are not all members of the same family share a kitchen, a bathroom, or a toilet, the property should be licensed. Licensing is part of the landlord’s job. Renters never have to pay for the licence. If your home is not licensed when it should be, it’s the landlord’s fault, not yours.
Does Kensington and Chelsea Council have a stand alone PRS strategy in housing policy?
There are some important objectives in the council’s Housing Strategy 2014-2017 for the private rented sector, including improving conditions, energy efficiency and affordability. The strategy says these will be achieved through advice, education, informal interventions and formal enforcement.
Does the council run a forum where private renters’ can discuss ways to make private renting fairer?
No, but Kensington and Chelsea Social Council does do work on rights for private renters.
How many criminal landlords has Kensington and Chelsea Council prosecuted?
An awkward question. We are still waiting for an up to date number from the council, but we do know that only three private landlords were prosecuted between 2011 and 2014.
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and non-political officers, who are appointed to do a particular job. In Kensington and Chelsea, these people might be useful to talk to:
Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen
Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration
020 7361 2303