Tenants who rent in the private sector held a protest in one of the flats at the new Stratford Halo development on Sunday, to protest against rising rent levels.
Renters' protest group Let Down says rent levels at Stratford Halo are too high. The 43 storey tower is in one of London's deprived areas but hey, what was the Olympics for if not gentrification (a House of Lords report today highlighted that prices around the Olympic Park are rising).
One bedroom flats in the Halo start at £1,300pcm, two bedroom flats at £1,700pcm. In reality, Zoopla does have a few two bed flats listed at below £1,700pcm (woop) but they go up to about £2,300pcm. All the most expensive Zoopla flats in Stratford are in new developments – other two bed properties start from £1,000pcm. Just how is more building supposed to ease London's affordable housing crisis again?
Protesters say these rents are unaffordable to ordinary locals. There's also the irony that Genesis has been shortlisted to receive government funding to build homes to "create a more balanced rental market". Of the Halo's 704 homes, 138 are for social rent and 91 for shared ownership. 410 are for market sale or rent, and it's interesting that M&G Investments bought 401 of these in a £125m sale and leaseback deal. Genesis will manage the flats for 35 years and make inflation-linked payments to M&G; these properties are basically there to make money for investors and pension funds. Presumably any government-funded building wouldn't need to resort to such deals, but this development does offer a snapshot of where the construction industry is right now.