London mayor hands over first "living rent" homes

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has handed over the first "living rent" homes designed to help middle-income earners to save for a deposit by offering below-market rents along with a major investment to roll out more.

Country House in Beckenham offers 76 homes available at the London Living Rent, which is set at a third of average local wages. Rents at Country House development, where all the homes are managed and owned by Hyde Housing Association, and up to 30% cheaper than local market rents.

Across London as a whole, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom London Living Rent home is around £970 a month. That is two-thirds of the median market rent. Rents at County House are set at £965 per month for a one-bed property and £1,072 for a two-bed. This compares to average rents of up to £1,300 for a one-bed and up to £1,550 for a two-bed in Beckenham - leading to savings of between £300 and £400 a month.

Mayor Khan has also announced that City Hall will invest £115m in a new partnership with Hyde to begin building up to 5,000 new homes over the next five years. The partnership will aim to make 60% of these properties genuinely affordable to buy and rent.

The funding is the second tranche of the mayor's £3.15bn deal with the Government to start 90,000 affordable homes by 2021. Of these, two-thirds of properties will be aimed at first-time buyers and will include homes for London Living Rent and shared ownership.

Housing associations will have the flexibility to switch completed homes between London Living Rent and shared ownership depending on local circumstances.

Mayor Khan said: "It is simply unacceptable that hardworking Londoners who fuel the economy of our great city are left in a position where they struggle to make ends meet.

"Londoners know that fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon and not a sprint, but I am determined to do everything in my power to deliver more new and genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent.

"I welcome Hyde's commitment to delivering these historic London Living Rent homes and investing in our new partnership to get on and build more new affordable homes for Londoners."

Elaine Bailey, chief executive of the Hyde Group, said: "The number of working people in London who earn a decent wage but can't get on the property ladder is growing all the time.

"These Living Rent properties demonstrate the Mayor of London and the Hyde Group's desire to provide genuinely affordable homes for Londoners. We look forward to continuing our work with the mayor and providing more London Living Rent homes for local residents."