Just when you thought you'd heard all the horror stories that the housing crisis had to offer, Barking & Dagenham Council raises the stakes. In raids yesterday morning with police, council officers found 55 people living in three houses, including 11 children.
Two of the homes had three bedrooms, but residents were crammed into every space possible, including a loft and a shed at the third property.
Today the Department for Communities and Local government released some of the datasets underpinning the latest English Housing Survey (comprising of data up to the year 2013/2014, the most recent we have) and the central finding is no longer surprising – the private rented sector continues to grow.
As the major parties choose their mayoral candidates for the 2016 London elections, today Generation Rent publishes a manifesto for London that that sets out a programme that any Mayor who is serious about the private rented sector should adopt. Whoever wins in May will have to be robust in demanding new powers to regulate the sector, so it's vital that politicians understand how hard private renters are being squeezed in the capital. Today renters can call on them to commit to solving the London housing crisis.
Another year, another inflation-busting rent rise. Many of London's workers would be forgiven for wondering whether it wouldn't make sense just to up sticks and join the commuters vaulting the green belt every morning. Well wonder no more.
We looked at whether it is cheaper to rent outside of London and commute in by train every day, or if the capital is still worth it. The answer is the latter - just about.
Today the government announced a raft of measures that will be in the Housing Bill that being is being prepared for Parliament later this year.
Sadly much of the focus was on the extension of the duty to all landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants. We’ve already expressed our opposition to this policy elsewhere, but it is particularly galling that this is being taken forward when there has been no public analysis of the West Midlands ‘pilot scheme’, and other groups have seen cases of it increasing discrimination in lettings.
Despite this policy dominating the headlines, though, the Department for Communities and Local Government has also announced more welcome plans to improve the systems for tackling rogue landlords.
The government has made a big song and dance about the zero inflation rate - for the first time in years the cost of living isn't rising. But that only applies if you don't have to worry about the rent.
Today the Office for National Statistics published the latest private rental inflation figures, which stand at 2.5% across Great Britain, and 3.8% in London.
Generation Rent needs your help. We unexpectedly have only two months of funding left. There is a real danger that the campaign will simply vanish, and with it the national voice of private renters in the media and political debate.
We are working hard to secure new sources of long term funding, but this will take months and we need your help now. We need to raise £60,000 by 31 August. These funds would allow us to continue our work empowering renters to put pressure on Parliament, the London mayoral candidates and local councils while applying for grants and building a sustainable organisation.
Please donate just £20 – or what you can afford – on our crowdfunding site, People’s Republic, who are kindly waiving their fees because they like us so much.
Environmental Health News (EHN) has done us all a huge service by publishing a list of landlords with convictions for housing offences.
For the first time we know the 2,006 companies and individuals who have been successfully prosecuted, but this figure is dwarfed by the 740,000 private rented households estimated to have hazards dangerous to human health. And the landlords in question get away with fines that hardly make a dent on the income they get from rents.
This has to stop.
With impressive speed after the Budget, the accountancy firm PwC has published its Economic Outlook for the UK, and its prediction that a majority of under-40s will be renting privately by 2025 made the front page of the Guardian this morning.
A blog from guest writer Zeph Auerbach asks - how much personal responsibility do we have for the housing crisis?
Now that the election is over, and Eurovision is a distant memory, London turns back to its favourite moan: the housing crisis. I frequently share this moan with my mixed group of friends: some renters, some homeowners, some letting out the odd room or flat. This conversation always seems to have an 'in it together' atmosphere, as we berate the property speculators, the oligarchs with vacant mansions, and most of all our government, which clearly sees its role as sustaining the rise in house prices (Help to Buy, pension reforms, reductions in stamp duty and so on).
But we ignore the elephant in the over-valued and under-sized room. This is an elephant which you'd see, if you looked hard enough, lurking in the corner of almost every Independent or Guardian article decrying the housing crisis. The elephant in the room is simply this: we find ourselves on opposing sides of this ‘crisis’ and for some of us this ‘crisis’ is something we profit from and sustain.