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 2015-04-12 12:32:31 +0100
    Thanks for your support, Lee. I actually think some of the penalties should be even stronger. Buy to let mortgages should be made illegal, an annual punitive tax should be levied on the total value of the portfolio of any British domiciled landlord, and profit made on the sale of rental property to be taxed at above 90%. Profit on the sale of rental property owned by overseas individuals or companies to be at least 95% and a ban on any rental payments leaving this country, so that money so raised goes back into the British economy, not somewhere abroad.
    As and when your kids get to the age of leaving home, changes like this may mean they have options. My son, and thousands of his generation, have been sold down the river and terribly exploited by greedy, selfish buy to let landlords who make profits on the back of this generation’s misfortunes. Shame on all landlords and managing agents. How would you like society to exploit your own personal situation so brutally?
  • commented 2015-04-12 08:46:34 +0100
    To create fairness in the system the country’ housing policy needs an overhaul. Buy to let landlords have significantly benefited from low interest rates, lack of new property being built , growing population and recently a tightening of the mortgage regulations.

    Residential Investment Property should be subject to a property tax as a percentage of market rent (say 30%) irrespective of the entity and jurisdiction that owns it. Any further profit will be subject normal tax legislation. This will not only deter some investors but also raise a significant amount of tax revenue that the government could use to support house building and first time buyer schemes/projects.

    Stamp duty should be higher for investment property purchases with the additional funds raised used to subsidise first time buyer stamp duty costs.

    It should be made law that no property should be sold or gifted at undervalue which will again increase tax revenue.

    For the record I am a 45 year old that managed to buy my first property in 1995. From a personal position I sit comfortably living in my own house in an affluent London suburb. My oldest child is still in primary school, so I am not looking for them to move out just yet.

    I have no personal axe to grind but feel that will the size of this island and its growing population this country’s housing policy can be bold and fair so that that it benefits all of society now and in the future.
  • commented 2015-04-07 15:15:35 +0100
    I’m sorry, Dave, I disagree with much of your logic here, and those with longer term plans merely take property off the market and away from prospective owner occupiers for longer periods of time. The facts are that buy to let landlords will get a mortgage more easily than prospective owner occupiers, based solely on the amount they state they can let the property for. They then buy the property, and potentially let it out to the same prospective buyer who has been turned down for a mortgage on the same house, often for a rent greater than the mortgage repayment would have been. Result – the landlord gets the mortgage paid for him, gets tax allowances as stated, and makes all the profit on the increase in the capital value. OK, there’s a tax implication, but it’s not nearly enough to dissuade landlords from doing this, so would be owner occupiers get squeezed out. Landlords and foreign speculators thus make huge profits, the taxman gets his cut, and the younger generation never have the prospect of owning their own house. The house prices are always rising out of their reach, and the speculators pick up the pieces. If a landlord does overreach himself, he just sells one of his portfolio off, probably to another speculator, writes any loss off against tax, and the circle goes on. Banning all buy to let mortgages stops this vicious circle, allows building societies to have more funds to offer to owner occupiers, and slows the inflationary circle down. If people must speculate with property, let them play with their own cash, not borrowed, in the commercial property market, where firms are more able to pay. When I saw Dan on the BBC News, I assumed this forum might be able to take up such a cause with more public exposure. If this is not the case, I’m wasting my, and everyone else here’s time with my views.
  • commented 2015-04-07 12:28:02 +0100
    I agree that the profits people expect to make from housing is a key part of the problem, but it is surely not right to say landlords are looking to ‘make a quick profit’ when most of them invest for 20 years and provide rented housing. It takes several years before they begin making a profit from rents after paying interest on the loan, and management and maintenance costs.
    The tax regime ensures that letting a property is always less profitable than owner-occupation. Both pay interest on any loan to purchase the property and pay for repairs and maintenance. A landlord benefits from the rent net of management and maintenance costs and growth in the capital value, and pays tax on both. An owner-occuper gains from the benefit of living rent free (which is of similar value to the net rent) and the same capital growth and pays tax on neither. On this basis a first-time buyer should always be able to outbid a landlord.
    It is only cash flow that prevents a first-time buyer from doing so. Earnings and limits on loan-to-value restrict how much they can borrow, and hence how much they can bid for a property. The same applies to all the other buyers with whom they compete in a local housing market. Their choice is between renting and buying, which is heavily distorted by the lack of good options for making a rented property feel like home. Any loosening of restrictions on borrowing either through competition between banks for a larger share of the mortgage market, or through schemes like ‘Help-to-buy’ enables those that qualify to pay more, pushing up prices.
    Supply and demand largely determines rent levels in an area. If there are more potential tenants than properties to let the rents tend to rise. This increases the yield (ie rental income as percentage of procurement cost) attracting more landlords to buy, bringing supply and demand back into balance. Higher property prices depress yield, although prospects for speculative gains can sometimes counter that. For most buy-to-let investors their alternatives are to invest in a pension fund or unit trusts against which they would compare income and capital growth, net of tax. Tax free ISAs can make equity investments more attractive, as can the performance of the stock market. In recent years the stock market has grown less than property prices.
    For landlords cash flow is a question of how long it might take for net rent income to cover their outgoings including mortgage interest, and how deep their pockets are to carry any short or medium term losses before making long term profits. Lenders put tighter limits on loan-to value (currently around 75% with rapidly rising borrowing costs above that), and require a certain amount of ‘interest-cover’ which is the the annual gross rent as percentage of interest charges (typically 125% or more). Lower prospects for interest rates in the short and medium term have increased the amount landlords can borrow, and lowered the yields at which a buy-to-let investment looks attractive.
    What can we conclude from this? It is the relationship between rents and values that limits the appetite for buy-to-let, while it is restrictions on borrowing capacity that limit how much first-time buyers will pay. Buy-to-let must have an impact on prices but it is likely to be a lot less than the availability of credit to first-time buyers.
  • commented 2015-04-07 11:26:46 +0100
    The ease with which buy to let landlords can borrow money and then rent to prospective owner occupiers who would have been turned down for a mortgage on the same property is my issue. It is immoral that people looking for a quick profit can do so at the expense of those wanting to buy a property to live in. Financial speculation and profiteering should not be allowed in the field of property. Everyone has a basic right to live somewhere – why should greedy landlords profit at the expense of the younger generation?
  • commented 2015-04-07 09:12:34 +0100
    Dave Treanor makes perfect sense in previous post. I will read his book.

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Home ownership at 30-year low

Just 62.9% of England's population owns their home - the lowest proportion since 1985. And the private rented population now stands at 4.5m households, up on last year and bigger than in 1961, when slum landlords like Peter Rachman were making tenants' lives a misery.

These are the big findings of the English Housing Survey Headline Report, the first of two releases of the government-commissioned survey for 2015-16. 

At this rate, there will be more private renters than mortgage holders in just five years' time. It's already the largest tenure in London.

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Brighton and Bournemouth letting fees - all in one place

Even though the government has promised to ban letting fees, our crowdsourced research project at lettingfees.co.uk continues to build up a picture of renter exploitation around the country. Renters in Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove now have an online comparison of letting fees in their area, which will help them avoid the rogues who are either charging excessive fees or just not publishing theirs.

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Lessons from Germany: tenant power in the rental market

Last month the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) released its report “Lessons from Germany: Tenant power in the rental market”. It examines the relative strength of protection for German renters, and how these benefits might be brought across to England.

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Making housing about immigration continues to be a toxic mix

Back in late 2015, when the details about making landlords check the immigration status of prospective tenants was being debated in parliament, housing and migrant groups repeatedly warned government that this would lead to discrimination, and push vulnerable renters into precarious and hidden housing.

Today a new report from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) on the 'Right to Rent' scheme confirms that warning, with shocking findings of non-British and non-white renters finding it more difficult to access a new tenancy.

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Government consults on banning orders - renters respond

We have put in our response to the government’s consultation on banning orders – the new mechanism to prevent criminals from operating in the rental market. That’s right, they aren’t banned already.

The government has asked what types of offences should be banworthy, and set a deadline of midnight tonight.

We asked our supporters for their experiences earlier in the week, dozens of you responded, and the feedback has helped shape our response to the government.

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Housing White Paper: where do we stand now?

Well, the Housing White Paper was a massive disappointment. After an exciting glimpse on Sunday of moves to "incentivise" longer tenancies, on Tuesday it became clear that those incentives were existing government subsidies for companies building new homes. Number of beneficiaries: 80,322 (not counting the companies who would have offered longer tenancies anyway).

For the 4.3 million households in existing properties? The vague undertaking to "consider what more we can do to support families already renting privately, while encouraging continued investment in the sector." Which gives little hope to people who don't live with their family and a lot of hope to property speculators.

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Housing White Paper: Our immediate reaction

Commenting on the Housing White Paper, Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation Rent, said:

“Sajid Javid has the right analysis about the plight of renters, but his White Paper has failed to offer us anything of substance.

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Removing criminals from the housing market

Although the 2016 Housing and Planning Act paved the way for the mass sell-off of council houses, eroded security for social tenants and watered down the affordability of new homes, it also made it possible to ban criminals from letting out properties, with new Banning Orders. 

As we await the Housing White Paper to see how far the government will go to improve private renting further - and how much it will atone for the damage it caused to social housing - we are drafting our feedback on how Banning Orders will work. 

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Are landlord incentives the answer to tenant insecurity?

Today's Observer declares that the "home-owning democracy", that elusive vision beloved of the Conservatives since Thatcher, is finished. 

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Ahead of next week's Housing White Paper, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says, "We understand people are living longer in private rented accommodation", which is the closest the government has come to admitting that their policies to help first-time buyers can only go so far. 

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Housing White Paper: could Starter Homes be genuinely affordable?

As the publication date for the government's Housing White Paper approaches, we and groups across the the housing world are hoping for an announcement that will signal a 'whole new mindset', as the Secretary of State has promised.

One item that will be included is confirmation of how the government's long-running Starter Homes policy will work - and the detail will tell us how far it will go towards slowing the affordability crisis for first-time buyers. This is the government's flagship policy that was pitched as "turning Generation Rent into Generation Buy".

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