Housing crisis: Kwajo Tweneboa praises Sadiq Khan, backs rent freeze amid ‘unaffordable’ costs

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Kwajo Tweneboa said he has seen people having to endure “shocking conditions that not even animals should be living in”.

A London housing campaigner has backed Sadiq Khan’s calls for a rent freeze and praised his focus on improving housing standards, as he warns of tenants having to endure conditions “that not even animals should be living in”.

Kwajo Tweneboa, who has spent the last two years campaigning for improved housing conditions across the UK, told LondonWorld that there has been insufficient focus on ensuring properties are of a high-quality and are safe, with lessons still not learnt from the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

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Speaking on the back of Sadiq Khan’s announcement that City Hall has surpassed its target of 116,000 starts on affordable homes since 2016, Mr Tweneboa described the ramping-up of such properties as “absolutely huge” for people living in the capital.

“For a very long time it simply hasn’t been the case, and I don’t think it has been treated as the priority it should be. Housing is an absolute fundamental to all of us. It is a necessity, not a luxury, and that’s exactly what it should be.”

Kwajo Tweneboa said the mayor announcing he has exceeded his affordable homes target is “absolutely huge” for London. Credit: Ben Lynch.Kwajo Tweneboa said the mayor announcing he has exceeded his affordable homes target is “absolutely huge” for London. Credit: Ben Lynch.
Kwajo Tweneboa said the mayor announcing he has exceeded his affordable homes target is “absolutely huge” for London. Credit: Ben Lynch. | Ben Lynch

While noting he is not a fan of the term “affordable”, due to wanting more clarity between what is going to be for rent, to buy, and for social housing, Mr Tweneboa said the announcement is nonetheless a “huge start”.

He added the public have for a long time been “screaming out” for cheaper and better-quality homes, amid ongoing reports of properties across the country riddled with issues such as damp and mould.

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Ashlee Toomey, a mum-of-three living in temporary accommodation in Ilford, recently told LondonWorld how black mould has forced her young, asthmatic son to move out and live with her mother.

“Honestly, it’s been the worst experience ever,” she said. “My youngest boy, he doesn’t even live with me.

“The family has been split up.”

Mr Tweneboa said: “[I’ve seen] shocking conditions that not even animals should be living in that people are having to be housed in due to a lack of priority when it comes to quality by providers, but also a shortage of housing too. So I’d like to see policy introduced where it’s made a priority.”

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One proposal called for by Mr Khan to help ease the pressure on tenants in London has been the introduction of a rent freeze. The government has however so far refused to grant him the powers to implement one, which he claims would save the average London tenant £3,000 over two years.

Mr Tweneboa confirmed he backs a rent freeze in the capital, saying: “It’s simply become too unaffordable. People aren’t able, in some cases, to feed themselves, heat their homes and pay their rent. And ultimately, that’s something that needs to be addressed.”

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