The proposals, part of a wider consultation on the future of affordable private homes in the capital, outline how nurses, teachers and police officers in the capital could get the first chance to buy or rent homes below market rates.
The idea would be to help essential workers, often living on salaries between £25,000 and £45,000 in one of the most expensive cities in the world, secure decent homes to rent and get on the property ladder.
Key workers could take first dibs on any shared ownership and London Living Rent homes under Mr Khan’s proposals.
Currently any Londoner with a household income of up to £90,000 per year is eligible for shared ownership, with the London Living Rent homes open to any household with a maximum annual income of £60,000.
The Mayor is now appealing to Londoners for their views on the proposals, in a bid to “understand how best to include key workers in these criteria”.
Mr Khan said: “Londoners know how much we value and depend on the hard work of the key workers who keep London running even during a time of crisis.
“Housing costs have driven far too many Londoners away from our great city, robbing us of their skills and expertise. Intermediate [affordable, private] housing, alongside much-needed homes for social rent, can play a vital role in turning that tide.”
He added: “I want to hear from Londoners and our partners about how I can best support London’s key workers to be able to access a safe and secure home that they can afford. By helping people buy or rent a home below the market rate we encourage them to put down roots, become part of a community and help London thrive.”
The proposals have already been welcomed by the London division of the Royal College of Nursing.
Nurses, frontline workers who have risked their lives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, are often at the lower end of the key worker salary bracket. Many have been forced to leave London as a result of not being able to afford to rent a suitable home.
Lisa Elliott, Royal College of Nursing Regional Director for London, said: “As key workers, nursing staff play a crucial role in caring for Londoners, and COVID-19 is a prime example of nursing staff going above and beyond for their patients.
“Despite their commitment to the city’s health, London’s nursing community is being left behind. Nursing pay has not kept pace with the cost of living in the capital. In a survey earlier this year, our members told us that the cost of housing is forcing them out of the capital. For those who have already decided to leave London, eight out of ten respondents told us it was because of the high cost of accommodation.”
Ms Elliot said that, if implemented, the proposals could help fill some of the 9,000 nursing posts currently vacant in the capital.
“RCN London has previously called for the introduction of incentives such as affordable living rents for nursing staff. With over 9,000 vacant nursing posts in London’s NHS, initiatives outlined in today’s consultation will be key to helping keep nursing staff in the capital and help attract more in the future,” she said.
A statement released by City Hall on Tuesday said that “addressing the housing crisis also requires helping Londoners who struggle to afford private rents or are locked out of the housing market to access safe and secure homes that they can afford”.
It explained that Government restrictions direct that a certain amount of its funding is directed at “delivering homes for affordable home ownership”, as opposed to social housing.
Helen Evans, Chair of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations and Chief Executive of Network Homes, said: “Housing associations stand ready to support the key workers who have kept our country going through this pandemic.
“Our key workers deserve the chance to secure safe, sustainable accommodation that they can afford to live in long-term. Whilst we continue to push for the social rented homes London needs, it is vital we also have options for those who struggle to afford private rents or are locked out of the housing market.”