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 2015-04-12 12:32:31 +0100
    Thanks for your support, Lee. I actually think some of the penalties should be even stronger. Buy to let mortgages should be made illegal, an annual punitive tax should be levied on the total value of the portfolio of any British domiciled landlord, and profit made on the sale of rental property to be taxed at above 90%. Profit on the sale of rental property owned by overseas individuals or companies to be at least 95% and a ban on any rental payments leaving this country, so that money so raised goes back into the British economy, not somewhere abroad.
    As and when your kids get to the age of leaving home, changes like this may mean they have options. My son, and thousands of his generation, have been sold down the river and terribly exploited by greedy, selfish buy to let landlords who make profits on the back of this generation’s misfortunes. Shame on all landlords and managing agents. How would you like society to exploit your own personal situation so brutally?
  • commented 2015-04-12 08:46:34 +0100
    To create fairness in the system the country’ housing policy needs an overhaul. Buy to let landlords have significantly benefited from low interest rates, lack of new property being built , growing population and recently a tightening of the mortgage regulations.

    Residential Investment Property should be subject to a property tax as a percentage of market rent (say 30%) irrespective of the entity and jurisdiction that owns it. Any further profit will be subject normal tax legislation. This will not only deter some investors but also raise a significant amount of tax revenue that the government could use to support house building and first time buyer schemes/projects.

    Stamp duty should be higher for investment property purchases with the additional funds raised used to subsidise first time buyer stamp duty costs.

    It should be made law that no property should be sold or gifted at undervalue which will again increase tax revenue.

    For the record I am a 45 year old that managed to buy my first property in 1995. From a personal position I sit comfortably living in my own house in an affluent London suburb. My oldest child is still in primary school, so I am not looking for them to move out just yet.

    I have no personal axe to grind but feel that will the size of this island and its growing population this country’s housing policy can be bold and fair so that that it benefits all of society now and in the future.
  • commented 2015-04-07 15:15:35 +0100
    I’m sorry, Dave, I disagree with much of your logic here, and those with longer term plans merely take property off the market and away from prospective owner occupiers for longer periods of time. The facts are that buy to let landlords will get a mortgage more easily than prospective owner occupiers, based solely on the amount they state they can let the property for. They then buy the property, and potentially let it out to the same prospective buyer who has been turned down for a mortgage on the same house, often for a rent greater than the mortgage repayment would have been. Result – the landlord gets the mortgage paid for him, gets tax allowances as stated, and makes all the profit on the increase in the capital value. OK, there’s a tax implication, but it’s not nearly enough to dissuade landlords from doing this, so would be owner occupiers get squeezed out. Landlords and foreign speculators thus make huge profits, the taxman gets his cut, and the younger generation never have the prospect of owning their own house. The house prices are always rising out of their reach, and the speculators pick up the pieces. If a landlord does overreach himself, he just sells one of his portfolio off, probably to another speculator, writes any loss off against tax, and the circle goes on. Banning all buy to let mortgages stops this vicious circle, allows building societies to have more funds to offer to owner occupiers, and slows the inflationary circle down. If people must speculate with property, let them play with their own cash, not borrowed, in the commercial property market, where firms are more able to pay. When I saw Dan on the BBC News, I assumed this forum might be able to take up such a cause with more public exposure. If this is not the case, I’m wasting my, and everyone else here’s time with my views.
  • commented 2015-04-07 12:28:02 +0100
    I agree that the profits people expect to make from housing is a key part of the problem, but it is surely not right to say landlords are looking to ‘make a quick profit’ when most of them invest for 20 years and provide rented housing. It takes several years before they begin making a profit from rents after paying interest on the loan, and management and maintenance costs.
    The tax regime ensures that letting a property is always less profitable than owner-occupation. Both pay interest on any loan to purchase the property and pay for repairs and maintenance. A landlord benefits from the rent net of management and maintenance costs and growth in the capital value, and pays tax on both. An owner-occuper gains from the benefit of living rent free (which is of similar value to the net rent) and the same capital growth and pays tax on neither. On this basis a first-time buyer should always be able to outbid a landlord.
    It is only cash flow that prevents a first-time buyer from doing so. Earnings and limits on loan-to-value restrict how much they can borrow, and hence how much they can bid for a property. The same applies to all the other buyers with whom they compete in a local housing market. Their choice is between renting and buying, which is heavily distorted by the lack of good options for making a rented property feel like home. Any loosening of restrictions on borrowing either through competition between banks for a larger share of the mortgage market, or through schemes like ‘Help-to-buy’ enables those that qualify to pay more, pushing up prices.
    Supply and demand largely determines rent levels in an area. If there are more potential tenants than properties to let the rents tend to rise. This increases the yield (ie rental income as percentage of procurement cost) attracting more landlords to buy, bringing supply and demand back into balance. Higher property prices depress yield, although prospects for speculative gains can sometimes counter that. For most buy-to-let investors their alternatives are to invest in a pension fund or unit trusts against which they would compare income and capital growth, net of tax. Tax free ISAs can make equity investments more attractive, as can the performance of the stock market. In recent years the stock market has grown less than property prices.
    For landlords cash flow is a question of how long it might take for net rent income to cover their outgoings including mortgage interest, and how deep their pockets are to carry any short or medium term losses before making long term profits. Lenders put tighter limits on loan-to value (currently around 75% with rapidly rising borrowing costs above that), and require a certain amount of ‘interest-cover’ which is the the annual gross rent as percentage of interest charges (typically 125% or more). Lower prospects for interest rates in the short and medium term have increased the amount landlords can borrow, and lowered the yields at which a buy-to-let investment looks attractive.
    What can we conclude from this? It is the relationship between rents and values that limits the appetite for buy-to-let, while it is restrictions on borrowing capacity that limit how much first-time buyers will pay. Buy-to-let must have an impact on prices but it is likely to be a lot less than the availability of credit to first-time buyers.
  • commented 2015-04-07 11:26:46 +0100
    The ease with which buy to let landlords can borrow money and then rent to prospective owner occupiers who would have been turned down for a mortgage on the same property is my issue. It is immoral that people looking for a quick profit can do so at the expense of those wanting to buy a property to live in. Financial speculation and profiteering should not be allowed in the field of property. Everyone has a basic right to live somewhere – why should greedy landlords profit at the expense of the younger generation?
  • commented 2015-04-07 09:12:34 +0100
    Dave Treanor makes perfect sense in previous post. I will read his book.

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Blog

A glimpse of Tory tenancy reform?

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.

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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. 

Survation.jpg

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Slowly, but surely, a letting fees ban is coming

Almost a year after Phillip Hammond announced the Government's intention to banning letting fees, we now have a draft bill before parliament.

Since that announcement, we have had a consultation on the ban, and of course a new government, but it has remained on the legislative agenda thanks to the concerted campaigning of renters across the country.

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Disrupting the market to help tenants

The internet has already shaken up the music industry, television, taxis and self-catering holidays. Investors are now looking for the next industry to disrupt with technology and property seems ripe for the picking. 

As the national voice of private renters, we agree that the property industry as it stands fails its consumers in too many ways, so things need to change. Even when we succeed in changing the law, like the forthcoming letting fees ban, we still need to ensure that it's implemented properly and the industry adapts in the right way. 

But we can't allow slick and revolutionary new services or initiatives to simply treat tenants as cash cows in the same way that many letting agents and landlords currently do. So this is what we think the market needs - and how the tenant should benefit.

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Lodgers need protection too

Where’s my deposit? It is no joking matter for nearly 300,000 tenants whose landlord has not protected their deposit.

This has left many out of pocket without a clue of how they will manage to raise another deposit - the average amount in London stands at £1040 for their next property.

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Landlord licensing works - yet the government is delaying renewal of the most successful scheme

Since the east London borough of Newham introduced mandatory borough-wide licensing of all private landlords in 2013, improvements in the sector have been indisputable. Criminal landlords are being driven out of the borough, standards and safety in the sector have improved and enforcement has dramatically increased.

Yet with the scheme due to expire on 31 December 2017, government is now more than four weeks overdue in making a decision on approval of a new, five-year scheme, to start in the new year.

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Tory conference announcements pull punches on housing crisis

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.

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How new rent controls could work

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.

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Six reasons why today’s renters pay more than previous generations

The harsh reality of the UK’s sometimes savage housing market is that more people are renting their homes until later in life but paying more for the privilege of doing so than their parents did.

In England the number of private renters has increased from two million to 4.5 million between 1999 and 2015 while renting a home has been eating up a steadily increasing proportion of renters’ income, rising from 8% during the late 1960s to over 27% today, on average. Here we look at the key trends driving up rents across the nation in recent years.

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Landlord tax evasion - what do we know?

A few weeks ago, the London Borough of Newham revealed that 13,000 local landlords had failed to declare their rental income, prompting estimates that £200m of tax was being evaded in London alone.

Today, Parliament has published an answer from the Treasury Minister Mel Stride to Frank Field, who asked what assessment the government had made of this. The Minister directed him (and us) to this information on tax gaps (pp54-5).

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