Tackling private sector housing issues over Christmas

by Anood Al-Samerai on 21 December, 2011

At this time of year there are lots of carol services and Christmas events going on. It is really great to see all the talent of our communities on show and I particularly enjoyed hearing the Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Choral Society at St Mary’s Church and the Borough and Bankside Lib Dem councillors!

I was also very touched by recent visits to the Salvation Army which supports huge numbers of homeless people and to the South London Mission which also does so through the ROBES project. Homelessness is always terrible, but it feels even more so at this time of year and I am really grateful to all those who give up their time to volunteer for all the various sprojects going on across London.

One of the biggest problems for a borough like Southwark is the problems which people have with private landlords. Whether it’s the ridiculously high rents, getting together deposits or being evicted with hardly any notice, it is often these problems that lead to overcrowding and homelessness. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Lib Dem council group has put forward suggestions to the council about a private landlord accreditation scheme. They do this in other boroughs like Newham and it is only right that we should demand the best possible standards for people in all types of housing. Labour have voted against our idea so far, but we’ll keep pushing as it would make all the difference to some of the homeless people who I’ve been speaking to in the last couple of weeks.

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