Next year’s General Election will be decided by generation rent. There are 86 seats with enough private renters without party allegiance to overturn the incumbent MP’s majority, so every party should be courting their vote. After Labour’s pitch on rent reforms, the Coalition parties have used the Queen’s Speech to respond with their own grand plan: garden cities, and legislation to reform planning laws to bring them about.
The number of houses being left empty has increased by 25% in the past decade - and so has the number of households with 6 or more people. That's according to the Office for National Statistics, which has published analysis of household composition data from the 2011 census.
It's already well-documented that private renting has risen as fewer people are able to afford to buy a house, but these two statistics are a stark illustration of the growing inequality in British society as a result of the broken housing market. The 3 million-plus people crammed into the 543,000 households of 6 or more would be a bit annoyed to know that there are over 1 million homes around the country that are going spare.
Today (Wednesday 28th May) in Haringey, London Mayor Boris Johnson launches his refreshed London Rental Standard, an accreditation scheme for landlords. We're not impressed and doubt this scheme will help one single tenant.
The three tenancy deposit protection schemes have rejected our calls to close a loophole that enables rogue landlords to abscond with their tenants’ money.
Seb and I met the three government-backed schemes – MyDeposits, the Deposit Protection Service and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme – earlier this month to propose changes to prevent tenants’ money becoming unprotected should their landlord or letting agent be expelled from a scheme.
The housing market is always changing and expanding, and more people are now renting privately than ever. However, with the increase in demand comes an increase in the amount of letting agents who are willing to try and get as much money as they can.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's warning this week that the housing market represents the principle threat to the economic recovery created a media shock, but little response from those in power. This displays a lack of understanding at senior levels of the scale and immediacy of this threat.
There is one year until the 2015 General Election and housing will be a central issue. We are deep in a housing crisis and radical action will be needed, whoever is in government once the votes are counted.
We've had a number of requests to publish the list of how MPs voted in the failed bid to outlaw letting agent fees to tenants. You can see the full list here.
This campaign isn't dead though. We'll be working with enlightened Peers to bring this back in the Lords. Unlike MPs, Lords don't get their letting agent fees paid on expenses so we're expecting more support.
You may have seen us on Channel 4 News recently discussing their investigation into rent-to-rent landlord Daniel Burton. Just to update you, we met yesterday with the heads of all three schemes to discuss how tenants can be protected from people like Burton.
We had a very productive meeting and we will continue to discuss a range of ideas on issues around the Daniel Burton story. We'll let you know how these discussions progress.