GENERATION RENT campaigns for professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable private rented homes in sustainable communities.

Join us today and help campaign for a better deal for private renters.

How we help

  • hwh-1.pngCall for changes in legislation, strategies, policies and practices to make private housing a better place to live

  • hwh-2.pngStrengthen the voice of private tenants by developing a national network of private renters and local private renters’ groups
  • hwh-3.pngEncourage private renters to set up local groups in their own areas
  • hwh-4.pngWork with affiliates towards achieving the aims of Generation Rent
  • commented 2014-07-15 17:54:20 +0100
    Here is Alan Duncan’s reply to my email [Private Rented Sector debate, Weds 25th June]:

    Dear Mr Taylor
    Thank you for contacting me about the rent controls.

    While I am aware that the Opposition has been actively advocating rent controls, I know that the Government has no plans to re-introduce them. Rent controls would cut investment and mean less accommodation available for new tenants to rent, ultimately forcing up rents. I do not agree with proposals which would increase rents, especially at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living.

    Previously, rent controls decimated the private rented sector. Between the introduction of the 1939 Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act, and the abolition of rent controls at the end of the 1980s, the private rented sector from 55 per cent of households to just 8 per cent. Of course other factors can account for some of this fall, but rental controls were a significant factor. Rent controls meant that many landlords could not afford to improve or maintain their homes, leading to worse conditions for tenants.

    The interests of tenants are best served by avoiding excessive regulation which would ultimately force up rents and reduce supply and choice.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Alan Duncan
  • commented 2014-07-15 17:52:48 +0100
    Here is Alan Duncan’s response to my email ‘Private Rented Sector debate, Weds 25th June’:

    Thank you for contacting me about the rent controls.

    While I am aware that the Opposition has been actively advocating rent controls, I know that the Government has no plans to re-introduce them. Rent controls would cut investment and mean less accommodation available for new tenants to rent, ultimately forcing up rents. I do not agree with proposals which would increase rents, especially at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living.

    Previously, rent controls decimated the private rented sector. Between the introduction of the 1939 Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act, and the abolition of rent controls at the end of the 1980s, the private rented sector from 55 per cent of households to just 8 per cent. Of course other factors can account for some of this fall, but rental controls were a significant factor. Rent controls meant that many landlords could not afford to improve or maintain their homes, leading to worse conditions for tenants.

    The interests of tenants are best served by avoiding excessive regulation which would ultimately force up rents and reduce supply and choice.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Alan Duncan
  • @maddiezahatter tweeted link to this page. 2014-07-05 14:13:12 +0100
    Join Generation Rent to improve renting for all in the UK. http://www.generationrent.org/?recruiter_id=6018

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Blog

Landlords milking two days wages a week from tenants

Private renters spend 40% of their income on rent, compared with owner occupiers whose mortgage payments average 20% of income, according to the Government's English Housing Survey published this morning.

That means that renters spend two days a week working to pay off their landlords mortgage - most would prefer to be paying off their own, but house prices are far too expensive. It's hard to see how this could be characterised as anything other than exploitation.

An initial set of figures for 2012-13 was published in February - today's more detailed look reveals that:

  • Only half of private renters agree that living in their sector is a good way to occupy a home, rather lower than in the other two main tenure groups.
  • 73% of private renters were aged under 45 compared with 37% of social renters and just one quarter (27%) of owner occupiers
  • A fifth of private renters last year were couples with children - up from 12% in 2008-09
  • Over half (55%) of private renters said they anticipated owning their own home in the longer-term. Around a quarter (27%) reported that they expected to still be renting from a private landlord in the longer-term.

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This graph makes it clear just how inadequate the private rented sector is - we have proposed a number of policies to fix it in our Renters Manifesto - and sign up here!

Half of renters feel ripped off

Nearly half of private renters feel they have been ripped off by their landlord or letting agent, according to a poll commissioned by Ocean Finance (reported by Mortgage Introducer). 

The biggest problem, cited by around half of unhappy renters, was the delay - or, indeed, complete failure - to get repairs carried out. This was followed by withholding of the deposit at the end of the tenancy (37%), or making unreasonable deductions from it (25%). Unreasonable rent rises and rip-off admin fees at the start of the tenancy affected around 23% of respondents.

These findings support work Generation Rent is already doing to improve the lives of renters. Only yesterday we published a consultation on new ways to help tenants recover their deposits. 

We are also calling on politicians to strengthen tenants' rights when requesting repairs by protecting them from revenge evictions. Our proposals for a long term tenancy would ensure that landlords couldn't impose inflation-busting rent increases, while we argue that letting agents - who work for landlords - should not be able to pass on fees to tenants. Further information is in our Renters Manifesto.

Renters' £95m deposit rip-off

Generation Rent today launches a discussion paper on reforming tenancy deposit protection, as another scandal emerges around a criminal letting agent that fraudulently used renters’ money that was ‘protected’ under an insurance-based scheme.

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What to do about letting agents...

Yesterday I was asked a surprisingly difficult question. I was asked what I thought of charities and local authorities setting up "ethical" letting agencies. The fact is I haven't given huge amounts of thought to it - though our office is maintaining a watching brief on their activities and seeing what can be learnt.

So I had to retreat to an instinctive (and unpopular) no. It seems inconceivably that the state or non-profit sector could or should compete in this space cost effectively. We're glad they do so as they are a rare respite for people who are routinely exploited, but on being scrutinised on the issue, I just couldn't see how they could be scaled to have a beneficial impact for millions of people.

I have had a think now, and while I did so fully prepared to explain why I had been wrong and have changed my mind, I haven't. I really don't think such projects are a solution to the letting agency problem. But as a representative of a tenant advocacy group, this does bear some explaining.

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Taxing times for private landlords?

The Let Property Campaign, HMRC’s initiative on tax in the private rented sector, is stepping up its work to ensure private landlords pay the full tax on their rental income.

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Go West – they license landlords there

Wales moved a step closer to comprehensive landlord and letting agent licensing this week as the Welsh Assembly voted to approve the final text of the Housing (Wales) Bill.

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MPs to debate housing supply on Wednesday

The government insists that it’s doing all it can to end the housing crisis by ramping up the rate of house building. So far it’s managed a modest bump, but earlier this week, we learned that it's forecasting another dip in 2014/15.

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(Source: Newsnight)

At a time when we need to double house building to keep rents and house prices affordable, to think that the government could allow a fall like this is staggering.

The Labour Party is calling a debate on the issue in Parliament next Wednesday, 9th July, to examine what has gone wrong and what can be done to boost supply.

 

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What we could learn from the Swedish renting model

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The coalition always seem very keen to look at what’s happening in Sweden and see what we could all learn from how they operate. Free schools, equality and healthcare are all models that have been viewed by jealous eyes in Westminster of how to do the right thing affordably. David Cameron himself is a close friend of the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The one model that has never been mentioned in the UK politics debate is the Swedish housing model. 

I have lived here in Sweden for three years now and I have discussed housing & renting with many Swedes whose eyebrows rise when I explain to them how the UK private rental sector works and the sums of cash involved.

I also have experienced first hand how housing works here and there are some startling rules that govern both buying and renting homes, I’m not certain if it’s a deliberate ploy to keep prices in check or simply just the “Swedish” way.

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Long overdue: Time to improve electrical safety for renters

Generation Rent was very happy to attend the launch of a new report on electrical safety in the private rented sector last week, entitled ‘Home Improvement: Tackling Poor Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector’.

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"Taxpayers get a great deal from landlord regulation"

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Alex Hilton from Generation Rent supporting the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Private Rented Sector in calling for tougher landlord regulation

You can see the BBC News item here

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