Paul Munday is the founder of RentProfile. For more useful websites for renters, visit our resources page.
A few years ago my brother David was the victim of a rental scam. It was this experience that led us to research the scale of the problem and start to think about ways to raise awareness and maybe even prevent this kind of fraud from happening in the first place.
We realised there is a compromise when seeking a rental today: either go through a letting agent which may charge excessive fees, or use a listings site where there's a chance of being scammed. It wasn't difficult to find fake listings on websites. Renters told us they were daunted by paying out thousands to a landlord (who is a stranger) but did so as they had little choice.
Thomas Karcher runs Kagoo.co.uk
With sky-high rents squeezing tenant’s budgets, bills are yet another unwelcome expense. However, it is possible to significantly reduce your electricity bill by following our Top 10 electricity saving tips.
1. Check your electricity tariff
As a tenant you are free to switch electricity suppliers without requiring permission from the landlord. Compare tariffs, duel fuel discounts and payment options to ensure you get the best deal.
Please note some agents try and tie tenants into energy deals with a preferred provider. Generation Rent would like to hear if you have been affected by this.
In September, following the Mayor’s release of some details for this London Living Rent proposal, we blogged about concerns around how genuinely affordable this new tenure would be, and what was needed to ensure it was part of the solution to London’s housing crisis.
This follow-up piece looks at what wasn’t covered in the first blog – broadly, tenancy types – and how again they might best serve Londoners just looking for somewhere affordable and secure to live.
With a new Prime Minister and a new Chancellor heavily modifying their predecessors’ policies on the deficit, “affordable” housing and schools, the property industry is hopeful that the government will pursue similar revisionism on its landlord tax policy.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors this week called on the government to scrap the stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let and second homes, while landlords have been in the High Court to challenge the withdrawal of mortgage interest tax relief for landlords paying higher rate income tax.
We’ve just learned that there will not be a judicial review of the government’s policy.
Whenever you propose reform of private renting, the landlord lobby always says no, because "landlords couldn't afford it". Whether it's asking landlords to cover the cost of letting agent fees, to apply for a licence, to charge controlled rents, or to pay tax on their loans, we're asked to believe that they can't afford it. Then they threaten to raise rents - as if rents haven't already been outpacing inflation since the end of the recession.
This claim assumes that landlords are already paying large amounts of their revenue out again in costs. Some of them are, but we point out that the majority are not, because they don't have a mortgage.
For example, an interest-only mortgage of £150,000 at 4% costs £6000 a year. Rent on the £200,000 property bought with that mortgage might get you £10,000. Two thirds of private rented properties have no mortgage, and thus have significantly lower costs and capacity to absorb new regulatory requirements.
Yesterday, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed that the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme would wind up at the end of the year. This was arguably the more controversial of the two Help to Buy schemes announced in the 2013 Budget, but it was originally meant to last only 3 years. And with it gone, we're still left with a Help to Buy loan scheme that is highly counterproductive to any efforts to fix the housing crisis.
During his recent visit to New York City, the Mayor of London took the opportunity to announce one of his key pre-election pledges for the private rented sector, the London Living Rent.
Doing so while overseas was both surprising and interesting and his visit to New York highlighted the challenges facing the Mayors of both cities.
Today we have called on the Mayor of London to adopt a set of policies that will speed up his efforts to end the capital’s housing crisis.
To remind him what’s at stake, we have uncovered another startling trend that is hurting the city and its people.
Every year the Office for National Statistics releases figures on internal migration – how many people move from one part of the UK to another – and people are moving out of London at an alarming rate.
Proposals this week to implement cheap rents for London's artists show how the the city's housing crisis makes an absurdity of good intentions, and indicates why a closer link to universality rather than targeting is needed to make renting affordable again in the capital.