A Home for Everyone

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Labour Will Deliver More Affordable Homes for Dartford

A Labour Council will tackle Dartford’s growing housing crisis. While we see a number of new housing developments spring up across the borough, affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

The growth of ‘buy to let’ and a housing market that too often only seems to benefit those already in it, means that many local residents, particularly younger people, feel that getting a place of their own is out of reach.

We desperately need more affordable housing in Dartford. However, over the last 12 years it’s simply not been a priority for the Conservative Council. The housing that is being built isn’t meeting the needs of local people and the waiting list for council housing is getting longer. A Labour Council in Dartford will begin to tackle our housing crisis.

Labour believes that we need to do everything we can to build new affordable homes – including new council housing.  That’s why a Labour Council in Dartford will deliver more socially rented homes in our first term than the Conservatives have delivered in 12 years. We’ll also press the private sector to fulfil its obligations to deliver more affordable housing in new developments.

The council also needs to do more to look after existing council tenants.  Too often our tenants have to put up with poor maintenance in their homes. Labour will protect the maintenance budget and make sure our council tenants are not forgotten about.

A Labour Council Will…

Tackle Dartford’s housing crisis

by delivering a minimum of 200 new social rented homes in our first term.

Push for more affordable homes

by strengthening the councils approach to private sector developments. Labour will press developers to deliver on a requirement to provide a minimum of 30% affordable housing in all major new house building projects.

Encourage and promote more affordable housing

by working with government agencies and housing associations to increase the availability of affordable housing within the borough.

Standing Up for Private Renters in Dartford

A growing number of people in Dartford rent in the private sector, but they do not always receive the support that they need. For those in the private rented sector, there are fewer protections against poor quality accommodation or unfair landlord or agency fees. There needs to be better support available for private renters – and the responsible landlords who want to provide good quality accommodation with fair tenancies.

A Labour government will stand up for private renters by capping rent increases and outlawing rip off agency fees. In Dartford, a Labour Council will work with local renters and landlords to improve the standard of rented accommodation where we need to, and provide greater protections for both private tenants and landlords in the borough.

A Labour Council Will…

Help improve the quality of accommodation

by introducing a Dartford Housing Standard which will be higher than the minimum housing standards legally required of rented property and work with local landlords, encouraging them to raise the quality of their properties where required.

Improve tenancy standards

by consulting on the introduction of a landlord registration scheme. The scheme would encourage local landlords to register with the council to confirm that their properties meet the new Dartford Housing Standard and confirm that they abide by a voluntary landlord contract.

Stand up for private renters

by actively supporting and lobbying for stronger national polices such as caps on rent increases and a ban on ‘revenge evictions’ and stopping landlords who do not provide a decent standard of home from being paid housing benefit.

Tackling Empty Properties

It cannot be right that when local people struggle to find affordable homes, there are still perfectly good properties lying empty across the borough. Where we have empty properties, a Labour Council in Dartford will pursue policies that encourage landlords and owners to bring them back into use.

A Labour Council Will…

Ensure there is no incentive to keep a property vacant

by requiring 200% council tax to be paid on empty properties.

Seek greater powers to tackle empty properties

from the government such as stronger powers to compulsory purchase long term empty private properties.

Providing Support for Those Without a Roof over Their Heads

In 2015, nobody in Dartford should be without a roof over their heads. Sadly, homelessness remains a problem in Dartford. The Conservative Council have not given homelessness prevention the attention that it needs and support for those who do find themselves on the streets is now primarily provided by voluntary and charity groups.

Labour believes it is right that homeless people in our borough are supported and treated with dignity. We also believe that the council can and should do more to support the people who find themselves homeless. That’s why a Labour council in Dartford will launch a new homelessness plan that focuses on support, prevention, and enabling reintegration back into permanent and secure housing.

A Labour Council Will…

Support community groups who provide help to those who find themselves homeless

by guaranteeing annual funding to the Dartford Churches Cold Weather Shelter Project.

Tackle the causes of homelessness

by launching a new plan to develop a holistic approach to homeless prevention by working with the voluntary sector, neighbouring councils, and other authorities who work in homelessness outreach and support.

Review the Emergency Cold Weather Protocol

which gives shelter to rough sleepers in freezing temperatures. This review will include whether to widen the definition and terms of the protocol to cover other severe weather conditions.

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commented 2015-04-27 22:38:07 +0100
Hi Natasha – Thanks for getting in touch. I rent privately myself so I understand the challenges of getting on the housing ladder in Dartford. This week you may have seen Labour’s plan to help people in the rented sector – A Labour government would:

Guarantee secure three-year tenancies for all people who want them so landlords will no longer be able to terminate rental agreements simply to put rents up.

Cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during secure three-year tenancies.

Require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rent levels charged to previous tenants so that householders can negotiate the best possible deal at the start of their contract.

Introduce a ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants.

As you say, we also need to make sure it’s easier for people to get onto the housing ladder. In Dartford, Labour would deliver at least 200 new council homes in the next four years. We will also make sure that we hold private developers to their promises on affordable housing. We need to make sure that all new housing developments in Dartford deliver at least 30% affordable housing within new developments.

A Labour government would put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built. Labour will also start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020 to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year across the country. And you are right – we need to do more to encourage shared ownership.

I hope that gives you an idea of Labour’s plans on housing – we really do need to
tackle the severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation.

Best Wishes
Cllr Jonathon Hawkes
Dartford Labour Party
commented 2015-04-27 20:21:48 +0100
So what is this affordable housing then?? Is it council tenants only?? We need more shared ownership for people who do not qualify for affordable housing!! We both work hard and have been private renting for 14 yrs where is my help ?

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