Insecure tenancies drag down quality of life

With home ownership unaffordable and council housing unavailable, private renters are living longer in a tenure that wasn't designed to provide long term homes. The constant threat of your landlord deciding to sell up or move back in means that you have none of the stability that a home is supposed to provide.

New polling from Survation, commissioned by us, exposes the impact this has on tenants' lives. It shows that private renters are more anxious about the security of their home and this is holding them back from investing time in their home and their local community. 

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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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#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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