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.pngProvide opportunities for private renters to campaign on issues that affect them and their local areas
  • hwh-4.pngWork with affiliates towards achieving the aims of Generation Rent
  • commented 2018-08-23 21:49:47 +0100
    In responce to Wills comment, can I ask how much you have lost demo a tenant not paying rent? I have been a tenant with a bad landlord, and now I’m a landlord and my last tenant cost me over £6k in legal fees and unpaid rent. We have section 28, this is has mades some private landlords sell up, this will increase as the tax levy increases, if we get the minimum 3 year AST this will encourage more to sell, and then doing away with S21 will mean more. landlord licensing is a good idea, but bad landlords will not register. This site wants better deals for tenants, its a shame that a lot of these initatives will mean more landlords sell up and rentable housing stock will be reduced, which will result in higher rent. The bad landlords, will just ignore legislation, like they currently do, and as good landlords are forced to sell as they are loosing money, effectively the percentage of bad landlords will go up. it is simple supply and demand
  • commented 2018-08-23 21:04:15 +0100
    But in the interim of scrapping it and bringing the improved version in, what about all those negatively impacted? My compromise to your suggested would be to amend the housing act to provide better legislation that closes the loop holes that allows landlords to abuse it, perhaps make it so tenants have to agree to the potential use of section 21 in the tenancy agreement therefore indicating the level of risk the tenant is taking on board, as well as tightening up the rules as to how and why a section 21 can be used.

    As it stands, a section 21 can’t be used until the end of a tenancy anyway and most S21s are given as the tenant is due to renew their tenancy. Perhaps there should be some form of commitment from the landlord earlier in the tenancy with regards to renewals, doing so eliminating the possible use of Section 21 until the end of the next fixed term. If the landlord doesn’t want to commit then the tenant can take that as reasonable indication it might be best to start looking for somewhere new to live. I can appreciate the need for longer tenancies if this were to be the case.

    We could even consider getting rid of periodic tenancies, if the neither party gives notice to leave then the tenancy should roll on to another fixed period, the onus of renewal will be on the landlord so if they miss the deadline, tough luck, no Section 21 until the end of the next fixed term. I wouldn’t support mandatory longer tenancies if this was how the system works – I do think suggestion (getting rid of periodic tenancies) is probably the fairest way in the short term to deal with the abuse of S21
  • commented 2018-08-23 17:16:09 +0100
    Andrew, I think scrapping it first and then building those things back in via new legislation would be preferable to amending existing legislation. Currently it just seems far too easy to exploit and full of loopholes. In any case, I’m sure that tenants facing eviction because they are behind on their rent would be receptive if given the option to be out within two months and avoid having a section 8 eviction on them.
  • commented 2018-08-23 17:02:06 +0100
    Will, that isn’t what I’m saying. What I am saying is there needs to be reform to prevent landlords abusing what is a valid tool that often leaves tenants better off than if they were evicted using a section 8 (fault based eviction). I believe genuine reason must be required and not just because a landlord or agent feels like it or in retaliation of repair requests (which is already illegal though enforcement rates are very low, partly due to police saying its a civil matter, it isn’t, and tenants not being fully aware of their rights).

    I’m completely against rogue agents and landlords, extortionate fees and landlords who take advantage of vulnerable people and illegal/unfair/unjustified evictions but I’m also against scrapping Section 21 for the reasons provided but again, I do believe urgent reform is required to protect tenants from rogue landlords who abuse Section 21.
  • commented 2018-08-23 16:41:16 +0100
    A friend of mine just moved house after breaking up with his girlfriend, his former landlord, who had seemed fantastic up to that point, retained a £700 deposit just because a wall needed repainted, meanwhile his new landlord hasn’t bothered to fit a lock to his front door yet (she’ll get around to it, she promises) meaning he just has to hope the local thieves don’t realise there is a house full of expensive musical gear with no lock on the door.
  • commented 2018-08-23 16:38:19 +0100
    In reponse to Andrew Hill, basically what you are saying is that you object to having the power to evict tenants on a whim taken away from you because you can be trusted to use that power responsibly, which is like saying, I should be allowed to take a samurai sword onto a plane because I can be trusted to use it responsibly.

    The problem isn’t that all landlords are bad landlords and cannot be trusted, the problem is that the burden of trust falls entirely on the tenant who is expected to just blindly trust that their landlord won’t use section 21 to evict them for no good reason because the government isn’t willing to restrict landlord’s ability to evict; and I’ve seen plenty of friends who thought they had lucked out and got a really good landlord, only for things to change because the landlord had a change of circumstances.

    If the boot was on the other foot and landlords were asked to blindly trust their tenants to a similar level then that would mean, first and foremost, no deposits, you just have to trust the tenant when they say they will look after the property. It would also mean no inspections, no references and no credit checks.

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Government will scrap Section 21 evictions in campaign victory for private renters

The Government will scrap section 21, ending ‘no fault’ evictions in England that have caused misery and hardship for millions of private renters and eroded our communities. This morning's announcement also said insecure fixed-term tenancies will go and a new, open-ended tenancy will be created.

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“Deposit-free” products: definitely not free and less protection for renters.

“Deposit-free” schemes on the market can cost as much as £864 for a two year tenancy in non-refundable costs to tenants, new product analysis and cost comparison by Generation Rent shows. And if the landlord makes a claim for deductions at the end of the tenancy, that figure can rise much higher.

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Policing the letting fees ban - what we're up to

The ban on letting fees is coming – from 1 June, renters in England (including licensees and property guardians as well as tenants) will not have to pay fees for admin, references or inventory to move into a new home. Just the rent and refundable deposits.

This should have a huge impact – not only on renters’ finances, but on their relationship with the landlord and agent too. If the landlord isn’t fixing something or is asking for a higher rent, the tenant is in a stronger negotiating position because it is now cheaper for them to move out instead. Faced with the prospect of a tenantless property, the landlord is more likely to capitulate.

But letting agents are a crafty bunch – their ability to invent fees out of thin air is why we’ve got to this point. And many are willing to break the law – our research on lettingfees.co.uk found that 12% of agents weren’t publishing their fees, in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

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Older renters struggling with affordability, insecurity, and lack of agency

The demographics of renters has changed so much over the last decade that we could now pluralise our name to Generations Rent. We’re very much conscious of the trend of older people privately renting, which will continue for the foreseeable future, so we were pleased to be invited to speak at Age UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ageing and older people which is holding an inquiry into older people’s housing. This session focused specifically on older tenants in the private rented sector and how housing impacts their physical, mental and social wellbeing. 

Generation Rent’s 2019 survey of private renters has just closed, so we crunched the responses and pulled out some findings specifically relating to older renters to share at the event. We received over a thousand survey responses in total, and 32% of responses were from tenants aged 55 or older, with 17.5% aged 65 or over.

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Scotland's rental reforms: what can other nations learn?

In December 2017, Scotland introduced the open-ended Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) and powers for councils to introduce Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to protect tenants from rising rents.

As we await the Westminster government’s announcement on security of tenure for private renters in England, this is a good moment to look back at the Scottish tenancy reforms and consider what’s worked well, what’s not so good, and where next for the Scottish private renter movement.

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Private renters denied protection from revenge eviction

Dangerous, broken stairs, or mouldy walls making your family ill? What do you do if the landlord won’t make sure your home is safe? Private renters can contact their council, who have a responsibility to enforce housing safety standards. The council should investigate complaints and if they find a serious hazard, take enforcement action against the landlord, which triggers protection against revenge eviction for the tenant.

But new analysis by Generation Rent shows that just one in every 20 renters who complains to the council about poor conditions gets protection from a revenge eviction. Even when a severe hazard is found, tenants only get protection from eviction in 1 in every 5 cases.

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Britain’s biggest landlords have decided to cash-in their portfolio. But not without evicting hundreds of families from their homes.

Fergus and Judith Wilson own over 700 properties. They are among Britain’s biggest private landlords, owning entire streets in some parts of Kent. Ever since their decision, in 2014, to evict all tenants on housing benefits - even those who had never been in arrears on their rent - their names have been synonymous with controversy.

Now, the Wilsons have decided to cash in on their estimated £250m property portfolio, to settle down and “take life easy”. They reckon that it’s  easier and more profitable for landlords to sell properties without tenants in-situ. So the Wilson’s have started the process of evicting their tenants in preparation for the sale.

Almost all the couples’ properties are two or three bedroom new builds, and many are home to young families. By law, the Wilsons only have to give the tenants two months’ notice of eviction. Some might manage to find new homes in this time. But many landlords are notoriously unwilling to offer tenancies to families on low incomes, meaning the most vulnerable will struggle. The chances of so many people finding suitable new homes are slim. Still less, homes nearby their employers, schools and support networks. Many must fear homelessness, and could be forced to turn to an already stretched council for support.

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Three wins on ending discrimination

There’s been some good news this month for people facing discrimination in the private rental market – because of how they pay their rent, or because of who they are.

Buy-to-let mortgage conditions

First, Natwest announced that it would lift “all restrictions on landlords renting to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefits”.

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The English Private Landlord Survey 2018

Happy tenants. Happy landlords. Longer tenancies and no unfair evictions. It’s all possible! 

The 2018 English Private Landlords Survey (EPLS) – the first since 2010 – demonstrates that much-needed changes to the private rented sector, specifically to renter security, would have little or no effects on most landlords. The current system of rules reflects the interests and opinions of a small minority of landlords at the great expense of tenants who deserve better.

The EPLS surveyed 8000 landlords and letting agents and its findings were published last month. The questionnaire covered three main topics: landlord characteristics; their attitudes and behaviours; and, importantly, the future of the private rented sector.

What are some of the key findings and what do they mean for renter security?

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Market solutions for affordable housing aren't working in London. It's time to look at rent control.

So Sadiq Khan has announced that he will develop a model of rent control for London. It’s a bold move for the Mayor of London and just opening up this conversation shows the extent of the affordability crisis affecting 2.4 million private renters in the city.

London’s rents are absurdly high, eating up ever higher proportions of people’s incomes as the last decade has seen wages stagnating while rents rose. The internationally accepted figure of rent affordability is 30% of income, yet there are only two boroughs in London where average rents are (just) less than 50% of a low-income worker’s wage. Even for private renters in middle and some high wage jobs, the dreaded annual rent rise can force you out of your home and your community, or reduce your savings pushing you further away from homeownership. High rents entrench private renters in financial precarity and erode our communities.

Market solutions to make housing affordable in London aren’t working in London. We’ve all been talking about the building more homes for years, but it just isn’t happening at the scale or speed needed to bring down rents. The economic uncertainty as a result of Brexit isn’t helping the housebuilding industry. It’s time to start looking for other answers.

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