London needs overcrowding action plan

Londoners, particularly children, are more affected by overcrowded housing than people living in the rest of England, the London Assembly Housing Committee has concluded. In a published a letter to the Mayor it has asked for a new action plan and targets to reduce overcrowding.

The move follows an investigation by the committee that concluded:

  • Overcrowding worsened during the pandemic, with estimates that the rate rose to as high as 15 per cent in London;
  • Cramped and overcrowded conditions are a source of serious strain on people’s physical and mental health, with 40 per cent of overcrowded households reporting significant mould, compared with 16 per cent of households not living in overcrowded conditions.
  • Children have less space to play and study, which impacts their development and parents suffer with lack of privacy and disturbed sleep due to sharing bedrooms or sleeping on floors or sofas.

The committee wants an action plan to include incentives for London’s boroughs and social landlords to build and acquire homes of all sizes, including family-sized homes, which are affordable at or close to the Local Housing Allowance. It also championed improved options to help people in all tenures to downsize from their current property if they have a larger home than they need, helping to free these homes for overcrowded families.

More work was also need to help improve affordability and standards in the private rented sector generally, so that families could be housed securely in this tenure, said the committee.

This issue needs an action plan from the Mayor to help everyone working in housing start to ease the burden that Londoners face in cramped and crowded homes’, said London Assembly Housing Committee chairman Sian Berry.