An intriguing exchange in the House of Commons this week may contain clues about the government's big forthcoming announcement of reforms to tenancies.
During a debate on temporary accommodation, the backbench Conservative MP Bob Blackman said this:
The greatest cause of homelessness is the end of an assured shorthold tenancy. They usually run for six months and at the end of that period families often have to move. The solution is clear: we need longer tenancies and more security of tenure for families, but also assurances to landlords that they will get paid their rent and that the tenants will behave themselves in accordance with the contract they have signed. I ask the Minister to update us on where we are going with lengthening tenancies, which would dramatically reduce homelessness at a stroke. Perhaps we can do that.
At the General Election in June, Labour won a majority of the votes of the under-40s. This was a wake-up call for the Conservative Party, many of whose members are now filled with a new urgency to address this cohort's biggest concerns - including a rather large house-shaped one.
Their annual conference has duly been bursting with new housing policies, particularly for private renters. But while they are (for the most part) improvements, the proposals fail to address the urgency of the housing crisis.Read more
The biggest talking point of Jeremy Corbyn's speech to Labour Party conference this week was rent controls. Since 2014 Labour has been proposing to limit rises in rents during tenancies, but there was something different this time around.
This is what the Labour leader said on Wednesday:
We will control rents - when the younger generation’s housing costs are three times more than those of their grandparents, that is not sustainable. Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections.
The ban on letting fees is currently the government's flagship policy to help renters, and we're currently waiting for a draft bill to be published, which follows a consultation that we and hundreds of our supporters responded to.
In the meantime, MPs gave us a taste of how the legislation will proceed in Parliament yesterday morning by debating the subject for the first time since last year's Autumn Statement.Read more
With one week until voter registration closes, we've estimated that more than three million private renters in England are at risk of losing their vote at the General Election.
1.8m private renters have moved home since the 2016 Referendum and must therefore register again. Private renters are typically on tenancy agreements of no longer than 12 months and are six times more likely to move in a given year than homeowners.Read more
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.Read more
Last month the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) released its report “Lessons from Germany: Tenant power in the rental market”. It examines the relative strength of protection for German renters, and how these benefits might be brought across to England.Read more
Well, the Housing White Paper was a massive disappointment. After an exciting glimpse on Sunday of moves to "incentivise" longer tenancies, on Tuesday it became clear that those incentives were existing government subsidies for companies building new homes. Number of beneficiaries: 80,322 (not counting the companies who would have offered longer tenancies anyway).
For the 4.3 million households in existing properties? The vague undertaking to "consider what more we can do to support families already renting privately, while encouraging continued investment in the sector." Which gives little hope to people who don't live with their family and a lot of hope to property speculators.Read more