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 23:21:56 +0100
    Andrew Hill, we probably agree on most things about how we would like the system to work, I’m just a bit more wary having seen how half-hearted successive governments have been when it comes to things like closing loopholes. I think getting rid of periodic tenancies will be helpful, perhaps also with greater incentives to sell a property with a sitting tenant, as that has been one of the main causes I’ve seen for use of s21 and I think most landlords and agents just presume that if they want to sell the property it pretty much has to be empty.
  • commented 2018-08-23 23:18:25 +0100
    Responding to Andy Wilson, you can’t really compare losing 6k in legal fees as a property owner to losing your home as a tenant; or the cost of a lost deposit, moving fees and yet more agents’ fees that can come to almost two month’s wages. It’s not about the money at all.

    I’m lucky in that I have no horror stories, and have lost nothing to bad landlords but I’m pretty unusual in that respect. The majority of my friends (or those that rent at least) have lost out both financially and in terms of stress and health because of the actions of their landlords several times before they even turn thirty, and I don’t even live in a part of the country with a lot of pressure on the housing market, I struggle to imagine how difficult renting in London must be.

    This sort of thing used to be accepted because people would rent for two, three years max before getting on the property ladder, but most people now will never know anything but renting and that’s why they want change.

    What I’d like to address in your comment is, why do you think housing supply will go down if landlords choose to sell up? What are you thinking will happen to all these houses they no longer want to own? They’ll just sit empty? They’ll come onto the market and house prices will drop and maybe more renters will be able to afford their own property.

    Another thing would be your belief that bad landlords will just ignore any legislation that protects tenants. The only reason any of this happens is that legislation is passed with no commitment to any sort of enforcement. If the legislation is properly enforced, they won’t be able to ignore it.
  • 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.

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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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Parliament abolishes £410m-a-year scam

The House of Commons has read letting agent fees their last rites! This afternoon MPs voted to approve the final version of the Tenant Fees Bill signed off last week by the House of Lords.

From 1 June, private renters moving home will no longer have to pay fees to start a new tenancy in England. Agents will only be able to ask for rent, and refundable holding and security deposits (capped at 1 week’s rent and 5 weeks’ rent respectively). The only exemptions are fees to cover the cost of lost keys, late rent payments, changing the name on a tenancy or ending a tenancy early.

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The lexical challenge of building more affordable homes

At the launch of the Affordable Housing Commission in October, the chair, Lord Best, a veteran of august commissions spanning the past 30 years, related an experience he’d had with one that was looking at The Future of the Family.

More than halfway into the process, its chair came to meet its sponsor (then plain old Richard Best) and admitted that they were a little behind schedule. They hadn’t managed to agree on a definition of “family”.

From the off, members of the commission – of which I am honoured to be one – are therefore highly conscious of the need to get the basics right. But not only do we need to know what “affordable” means (already the subject of much controversy in the housing world), but I think we also need to define “home”.

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2018 takes renters closer to a fairer housing market

It's our End Of Year round-up! 2018 has been an exciting year for the campaign. Through our work - with activists, renter unions and other groups - we are closer to a safer, fairer and more secure private rental market.

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Letting Agents are not the "servants of two masters"

Parliament’s scrutiny of the Tenant Fees Bill has exposed the common misconception that a letting agent works for both the landlord and the tenant. A letting agent is not, as David Cox, CEO of ARLA Propertymark had put it, “effectively the servant of two masters.” Letting agents typically act for only one side (usually, the landlord).

An agent’s role is to serve the interests of the person who appoints them. It is simply not possible to act loyally for two parties whose interests are at odds (e.g. when one side would rather receive higher rent and the other would rather pay less). To suggest otherwise is to contradict English statute and common law, the Property Ombudsman’s guidance, the forthcoming Tenant Fees Bill and even the Bible.

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MPs debated Section 21 - here's what they had to say

On Thursday 6th December our campaign to end unfair evictions reached the Houses of Parliament.

Labour MP Karen Buck, in partnership with the End Unfair Evictions campaign, sponsored a Westminster Hall parliamentary debate on the problems pertaining to Section 28 evictions. MPs came together to share horror stories from their constituents of evictions as well as discuss the larger power imbalances born of the constant threat of eviction many tenants live with.

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Section 21: Terrible for tenants and lengthy for landlords in court

Our campaign to end unfair evictions has caught the attention of Parliament. On Thursday, MPs are debating “the use of Section 21 evictions in the private rented sector”.

We’re calling for the abolition of Section 21, and the government is considering responses to its proposed three-year tenancies. This is the first opportunity MPs will have to air their views on reform, and quiz the Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, on her department’s proposals. We’ll get a sense of what there is cross-party support for.

Ahead of the debate, we wanted to take a look at what we know about evictions and their extent. It's important to note that the problems with Section 21 go far beyond the basic number of evictions. The threat of a no-fault eviction discourages tenants from treating the property as their long term home, and even from complaining about disrepair.

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Pressure builds on Natwest over benefit discrimination

Back in October, we learned that Natwest had asked one of its buy-to-let customers to either evict her tenant, who was receiving housing benefit, or pay a draconian fee to switch her mortgage.

The bank’s terms and conditions prohibited customers from letting to tenants in receipt of housing benefit. Yet another example of a bank discriminating against low-income households and fuelling the “No DSS” culture. But this time, 62% of the bank is owned by the government, i.e. us.

The landlord has started a petition urging the government to stop this practice by high street banks, and it’s nearly at 5000 signatures.

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