One promise the Prime Minister must keep

Theresa May has broken her word. She ruled out a snap election five times, then called one.

Our question is: what other promises is she going to tear up?

The government is consulting now on proposals to ban letting fees, and the deadline of 2 June is a week before polling day.

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Happily renting or resigned to it?

Over the Easter weekend, the Halifax brought out the latest instalment of its Generation Rent research, which it has been conducting with NatCen. The survey of 32,000 20 to 45-year-olds found that more people no longer want to own their own home - about a quarter of those who aren't homeowners already. This number corresponds to our poll finding that two thirds of renters want to buy but cannot.

Some have ascribed the trend to young people being more content to rent for the long term, and the research finds that fewer people (though still a majority) regard renting as a barrier to settling in an area or raising a family.

But the findings are not evidence of increased satisfaction among renters; they're a collapse in confidence that they will ever own their own home. As house prices rise by double-digit inflation, home ownership is a distant dream for increasing numbers of people, and high rents make saving for a deposit more and more difficult.

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The loophole that puts tenants' deposits at risk

Since 2007, tenants are supposed to have had peace of mind when handing over the best part of a month's wages at the start of a tenancy, with a government-backed deposit protection scheme. But Channel 4 News reported tonight that it's possible for a landlord to hold on to the money, then get barred from the scheme and make off with their tenants' money.

The scheme's chief exec and the chair of the National Landlords Association say the scheme works for landlords, but it quite clearly didn't work for the 160 tenants who saw their money disappear. The deposit protection scheme simply won't protect deposits until this loophole is closed. We're calling on the government to review the scheme, and for the NLA to pay back the money that isn't protected.

Channel 4's subject, Daniel Burton, rented flats from the owners only to sublet rooms to tenants, and is now running letting agents. His case serves as a reminder of the need for a register of landlords - and mandatory licensing of letting agents.

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Want to improve the private rented sector? Join the Vote.

Ipsos Mori’s Global Trends Survey this week found that only 22% of under-30s in Britain think that they will have a better life than their parents' generation – a lower figure than the USA, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Australia and Canada.

 

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House prices 10% higher for first time buyers

This morning, the Office for National Statistics revealed the latest miserable house price index. People who want to buy their first home must now pay 10.5% more than they would have a year ago - a figure that rises to 17.5% in London.

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Shared ownership - affordable housing for those who don't need it?

Shared ownership is touted in some quarters as the answer to the housing crisis, but, as Harriet Meyer’s piece in yesterday’s Observer finds, existing schemes don’t seem to help anyone who needs it.

The idea is that people who can’t afford the full price of a house can buy, say, a quarter of it and rent the rest, which is typically cheaper than renting 100% and also lets them build up an asset. It was designed with “key workers” in mind – those public servants like nurses or teachers who have to spend their careers in areas that are not affordable on a modest salary.

 

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Compulsory registration of landlords and letting agents, mandatory safety checks; what we can take from the Welsh Housing Bill.

The motion to agree the general principles of the Welsh House Bill was unanimously carried in the Welsh National Assembly this week. The Housing Bill aims to improve the supply, quality and standards of housing in Wales and takes various aspects of housing into account, ranging from tackling homelessness to legislating within the private rented sector. In a positive move for renters, the Housing Bill specifically sets out legislation for compulsory registration and licensing of all landlords and agents. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the bill include a legal requirement for landlords to undertake regular safety inspections, such as electrical inspections, in all private rented housing, so the bill may yet improve.

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DCLG review of property conditions in the private rented sector: The Generation Rent response

As recent reports have shown, private renters regularly face problems with the safety and fitness of their homes. Recognising this, the Department for Communities and Local Government is currently conducting a review into property conditions in the private rented sector and policy to improve standards.

To read Generation Rent’s submission, click here.

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The generation rent vote could decide the 2015 election

Private renters could hold the deciding vote in 86 parliamentary seats at next year’s General Election. That’s the big finding of analysis based on our ComRes poll that we have published today.

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Heating, Eating, or Paying Rent?

Figures released by Generation Rent today add to the growing body of evidence that the private rented sector is failing tenants and needs to be reformed. Based on an opinion poll from ComRes, Generation Rent has found that the cost of rents continues to hit too many, with 39% of those polled cutting back on heating due to the cost of rent and a third reducing their spending on food. Affordability also keeps people stuck in private renting when they want to leave. Two thirds of renters say that the main reason they rent is because they cannot afford to buy their own home.

 

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Latest figures on the PRS show why we need a national private renters’ campaign

The latest English Housing Survey was released last month, covering the period from April 2012 to March 2013, based on field surveys of a sample of 13,652 households.

The survey covers all housing tenures but has a particular resonance for private renters. As has been widely reported, the PRS is now the second largest housing tenure behind home ownership, at four million households. This amounts to 9.1 million private renters in England, calculated multiplying the number of households by average PRS renter size. Unfortunately the statistics do not paint a good picture for private renters and show why campaigning on these issues is so vital.

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