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 2015-04-13 17:41:41 +0100
    John, I’m not commenting on whether or not Landlords are good, bad or indifferent. Frankly, if you choose to rent on the private sector, this is a chance you have to take, and there are bodies in existence with whom you can take matters of this nature up. I’m saying, bluntly, that private landlords should be outlawed as they are selfishly taking houses away from prospective owner occupiers, and causing misery to that generation, to selfishly feather their own nests. Rental properties should be owned only by local authorities, housing associations, bodies such as universities where appropriate, or multinational companies for employees who they may need to move about the world. Not greedy speculators…
  • commented 2015-04-13 17:30:55 +0100
    I feel the best way to get a fair deal for Landlords and tenants is for all private and housing associations to be licensed to be a Landlord and that they adhere to certain safety and standards for the best protection for tenants, and if Licence revoked they must put right or be unable to take take rents until they do, and the licence fee monies to pay for licence monitors assessors mediators, to work on behalf of Landlords and tenants.
  • 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.

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Got opinions about renting? We want them

As part of our work, we want to make sure that we're doing the best we can for renters, and a big part of that is understanding your experiences and hopes for the future. 

The housing crisis is such a complex beast that there are a range of views about how to fix it - and we'd like to know what yours are too.

That's why we are running a survey until mid-August. 

 

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Vent your rent, to music

If, like me, you wish this generation had its own Joe Strummer or Woody Guthrie, writing protest songs about the social challenges of the day - i.e. bad housing* - well, you're in luck. A new choir of private renters in London, called Section 21, is being announced this Saturday at Royal Festival Hall in London. 

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Enjoy the summer - but come back ready to end the London housing crisis

As is so often the case in the week before politicians break for the summer, we’ve had a raft of announcements, predictions and indicators in the last week – including a number of focused reports today from English Housing Survey data.

Coupled with announcements made at yesterday’s Mayoral Question Time (the last until September), private renters in London have a diagnosis and some solutions to ponder over the summer.

But equally, it is hoped that these reports will have brought added impetus to plans being written by the housing team at City Hall, ready to hit the ground running after the summer. 

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Want your letting fees back?

Michael Green is the founder of CaseHub. 

Over the past six months, I have been working with some of the country’s leading barristers to put together a lawsuit that proves how most letting fees in England and Wales are unlawful.

The good news is that they agree.

We now need to take that case to court. The good news is that if it wins, renters will be entitled to get their letting fees back, and in future some of them might be stopped entirely. 

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New PM, new diagnosis of the housing crisis

Before she was fast-tracked to 10 Downing St - in one of many dramatic twists in recent weeks - Theresa May gave us a glimpse of how her housing policy might differ from David Cameron's.

Launching her leadership campaign in Birmingham on Monday, May went further than Cameron has ever done in describing the the damage that house price inflation causes:

"...unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced. And more and more of the country’s money will go into expensive housing instead of more productive investments that generate more economic growth." 

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Open letter from Butterfields tenants: 'We do not intend to give up our homes without fighting'

Private tenants on the Butterfields Estate in London's Waltham Forest are facing evictions from affordable homes they have lived in for years, after they were sold on without their knowledge. Previously owned by a charitable trust that ensured tenancies were secure and affordable, the two streets of homes were bought up by a private business (BE17Ltd) at the start of this year.

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Housing emergency drives 'blue light' workers out of London

There have been a huge number of articles written in the last fortnight about the future of Britain, with many focused on the potential effects on London’s economy of the country leaving the EU.

What must not be lost in these debates, though, is the focus on the structural problems that the city faced before the referendum. One of the most fundamental in recent years has been the fact that London’s housing crisis has forced many professionals out of the city.

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Economic uncertainty means renters need security

We haven't commented on the EU referendum as a debate about the future of the country was all a bit above us. Renters are a mixed bunch and have different reasons for voting Remain or Leave.

Now that the deed is done, we're due a new Prime Minister, probably a General Election in the next year, and several years of negotiations over our relationship with Europe. 

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Sadiq says his plans are "ambitious but realistic"

This week will mark 50 days since Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London in an election that was defined by the capital’s housing crisis. Yet since that point private renters (and indeed all Londoners hit by its failed housing system) have had to wait patiently to hear the detail within the Mayor’s commitments.

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Lords debate letting fees ban

When we published our latest research on letting fees in April, we were expecting a long fight to get the issue of banning them back on the political agenda. The Housing and Planning Act, passed in May, contained no changes to the law on fees, and the only area of housing government is currently legislating on concerns planning. 

We didn't have to wait for long though. Olly Grender, a Lib Dem peer, who fought for and won some protections for renters in the Housing Act, was selected to present a private member's Bill. Happily for us, she picked fees.

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