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Protestors occupy Stratford show home to make point about high rents

PUBLISHED: 16:58 18 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:58 18 November 2013

A group of people occupied a show flat at Statford Halo where they staged a protest at the high rent rates Picture:letdown

A group of people occupied a show flat at Statford Halo where they staged a protest at the high rent rates Picture:letdown

Archant

A group of private tenants occupied a show flat at a development in Stratford to highlight soaring rent rates and the government’s failure to tackle the issue.

The group, called Let Down, says rent across London have been rising at seven per cent per year. Newham Council, which has 21,000 people on its housing list, recently announced a shared equity scheme which will provide 1,200 affordable homes.

The flats at Stratford Halo are built and let by Genesis which has been shortlisted to receive funding through a government subsidy scheme for private rented housing in three developments in London, including Springboard House, in Upton Park.

Let Down says rents in Stratford Halo start from £1,700 for a two bedroom flat, the minimum size needed for a family with children. Based on figures published by Shelter, these rents would only be affordable to families with an income of £76,000 or more.

Emma Bradshaw, one of the activists, said: “Private renting is expensive and gives people no security – the last thing we need is more of it. Rather than supporting developers to build expensive private rented housing that is only affordable to the very wealthiest, the government should bring in measures to keep rents under control and invest in good quality genuinely affordable social housing that gives ordinary people the security they need.”

A spokesperson for Genesis Housing Association said: “The comments made by the group are inaccurate; it’s a shame they didn’t get in touch with us beforehand, so we could correct their misconceptions.

“At any one time there are around 100,000 people living in a Genesis home, the overwhelming majority of which are social housing tenants – so we probably empathise with their aims more than most organisations

“The current chronic lack of housing is something that affects everyone, not just people looking for social or affordable homes. At Stratford Halo, there’s a combination of all types of housing to cater for a wide range of needs. This includes homes available for social rent and shared ownership; homes available for rent on the private market and housing for people with support and care needs.”

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