Thanks to all the residents of Shirley, Fremantle, Coxford and Redbridge who came to the housing meetings I've been holding this week.
They've been really great sessions and have helped me understand more about your priorities for housing in Southampton Test. In both meetings we covered a lot of housing issues, from the bedroom tax to expensive rents and your struggles getting on the housing ladder.
In both meetings people told me that there just aren't enough affordable homes out there and that this is stopping lots of ordinary Sotonians from owning their own home. The lack of affordable housing is why a Labour government would build 200,000 new homes by 2020. People at the meetings also told me that they resented the fact that despite the housing shortage, developers are sitting on land which could be used for development. To stop this, Labour will give local authorities "use it or lose it" powers so they can intervene and stop developers hoarding land. I've also personally being working on the idea of community land trusts which would help to stop this problem and would ensure that housing remains affordable and appropriately sited.
Quite a few people also raised the issue of unlawful HMOs with me. I know that this has been a big problem in certain areas of Southampton and that lots of people are concerned. That's why I've been working with the council, both nationally and locally, to try and force the government to introduce mandatory licensing. I've had various meetings with the Minister about the issues too. If you select me as your MP on 7th May I will continue to work on this issue and push the agenda forward.
We also talked about high rents and the poor standard of accommodation. I've done a lot of work on private rented sector issues in Parliament and I've campaigned long and hard to get more secure tenancies, greater rights for tenants, and to get legislation implemented which would force landlords to make their properties warmer and safer. I will continue to work on these issues if I'm reelected and a Labour government would ban rip-off letting agent fees, make three year tenancies the norm and make force landlords to make rent increases more predictable with rental contracts.
Please do get in touch if you want to talk about housing in Southampton further.