YOU DON’T walk easily over the tenants of the New Era Estate in Hoxton.
Today a letter is being sent by their landlord, offering a means-tested rental scheme so that people who have lived on the N1 5QA estate will not have to make way for more affluent incomers who can pay more than social tenants.
This latest victory in their campaign to avoid eviction after a previous owner tried to raise rents could become a model for tenants throughout England and Wales.
The 96 redbrick flats and other premises, just east of Islington, were sold by the Benyon Estate, family company of Newbury MP Richard Benyon, to New York investment company Westbrook Partners in 2013.
Westbrook’s plan to hike rents to market rates collapsed when locals started a lively campaign, including the petitioning of Downing Street with the help of comedian-actor Russell Brand.
In the face of the ensuing news storm, the Americans lost their nerve and sold the estate to social landlord Dolphin Living.
Chief executive Jon Gooding promised that the deal meant New Era could continue as an estate affordable by working Londoners.
In the letter it is sending to tenants today Tuesday 18 August 2015, the charity said that under its new scheme tenants would pay different amounts for similar properties, depending, for example, on the number of children living in a flat. This could have implications for social landlords if the government implements what has been termed its “pay-to-stay” policy.
Under the policy, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in July this year 2015, households earning more than £30,000 – £40,000 in London – will have to pay higher rents to stay in social housing.
Few details have been given. The latest New Era success means, however, that there will be pressure on the government to make the idea more than a mere headline.
Hackney housing councillor Philip Glanville, below right, told Loving Dalston: “Dolphin Living’s proposal to base rents on income and living standards, rather than a percentage of an over-heated private-rental market, will I hope keep the community together.
“Contrast this with the Government’s pay-to-stay policy, where there is a danger of couples and families on relatively low combined incomes being hit by a crude £40,000 cap before they might have to pay full market rents.
“As Hackney council has been saying in its 10 Steps to Better Private Renting we need to see reform of the private rented sector if it is to be affordable for local people.”
David Altheer 180815
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