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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Blog

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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#ventyourrent: a round-up

On 26th April, we launched a social media campaign called #ventyourrent on Twitter and Tumblr. We asked people to tell us on cardboard, a photo, or just a tweet, what they were paying in rent and what it bought them.

The plan was to get Londoners sharing their worst experiences of renting and generating some solidarity ahead of the Mayoral Election on 5th May. We hoped that seeing the posts would get people thinking about the housing market as a political issue that they could have some influence on. If they did, we had a handy guide for them.

It was the first campaign of its kind that we have attempted and we could not have done it without the energy of a crack team of volunteers*, the guidance of Paolo Gerbaudo of Kings College London, and the inspiration of Pierre-Emmanuel Lemaire, Yasmina Aoun, Cong Bi and Nicola Lotter of Central St Martin's MA Communication Design course.

It was a huge success, generating our biggest media story to date, attracting hundreds of submissions, and surely contributing at least a tiny bit to the highest ever turnout for a London Mayoral Election. 

Now that the dust has settled, we decided to find out what #ventyourrent taught us.

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The new Mayor's in-tray

London has a new Mayor. Sadiq Khan was elected last Thursday with 1.3m votes, the largest personal mandate for any British politician in history. That gives him a lot of clout in implementing his manifesto, whether that's dealing with local councils or the Westminster government. 

Let's remind ourselves what he promised. On our Vote Homes comparison site, Sadiq came in behind the Green Party candidate Sian Berry with more amber policies (ones we felt were okay) than greens (policies we called for). And while he had fewer greens than the Lib Dem, Caroline Pidgeon, he had no policies we thought were terrible (marked red) to Caroline's two (on security and rent levels).

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Finally, Zac and Sadiq go head-to-head on housing

After months of debate and campaigning, the London Mayoral election is imminent. Despite housing being the absolute number one issue of the election, the two frontrunners have not managed to face each other to debate it.

There have been general hustings between Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, including the Evening Standard and Centre for London debate on 21 April, where, amid heated exchanges on policing, transport and extremism, the only real look-in that housing had simply highlighted the similarities between the candidates: building ambitions, first dibs for Londoners, and refusal to build on the green belt (despite Zac’s desire to paint Sadiq as a park concreter).

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UKIP's answer to London's housing crisis

The final manifesto we're looking at for Vote Homes is UKIP's Peter Whittle's. Like all the other candidates, Peter recognises that housing is the biggest challenge facing London. But unlike the other candidates, he sees the cause as excess demand, rather than a shortage of supply.

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What will George Galloway do for London's renters?

The Respect Party candidate, George Galloway, has set out his manifesto on his home page, and we've updated our candidate comparison on Vote Homes. This is what he is promising London’s renters.

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Caroline Pidgeon sets out housing policies

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor, has published her manifesto. We’ve taken a look at what she’d do to fix the housing crisis and how she compares with other candidates so far.

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Letting fees - 10 areas now covered

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This morning we have published six more areas on www.lettingfees.co.uk – Manchester, York, and four more London boroughs – Bromley, Camden, Lambeth and Wandsworth.

Flathunters in those areas can check to see which letting agents are charging the least, and which charge the most. These areas join four already in London, and bring the total number of letting agents covered by our website past 700.

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