Bournemouth Borough Council is to debate on Monday a plan to buy up properties in the town to house homeless families - a practice that is already happening in the London boroughs of Enfield and Westminster.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to house homeless people in temporary and emergency accommodation. Because they have no available properties of their own they often have to turn to bed and breakfasts to put families up. Councillor Robert Lawton explains:
"It will help us to reduce costs, for example, avoiding the use of expensive B&B accommodation. By owning the properties, it would mean that the council would be able to ensure the properties are good quality and well managed. In the longer term, any income generated and increase in property values would come back to the council to help fund additional services for vulnerable people."
There have been not one but two reports out in the past 24 hours which advise the government how it can boost housebuilding at the lower end of the market - something that was woeful under the past government with its slashed grant funding and so-called affordable rent.
In a bid to shake off the toxicity of the "affordable" tag, the National Housing Federation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Savills have produced a report into how living rents could be set and underpin an increase in housebuilding of 80,000 homes a year. Based on what is affordable on low incomes, their local "living" rents are set at roughly 40% of the market rate - instead of the 80% the government claims is affordable. Just £3bn of public money a year could fund this programme.
Today sees the first major public lobby of the new parliament, with up to 8000 people descending on the House of Commons from across the country to speak to their MPs about climate change.
Renters should be interested in this because the number one domestic policy demand will be ‘Warm homes for all’ – and this means making energy efficiency an infrastructure spending priority, as our friends the Energy Bill Revolution have called for in the run-up to the General Election.
On 3rd July, there will be a mass demonstration over the extortionate rent levels charged by University College London to their students.
Our friends at Kensington and Chelsea Social Council are undertaking a project to look at the issues affecting private tenants in the borough - particularly in the clear lack of affordable housing in the private sector. Part of this is an online survey that they're asking all private renters in the area to complete.
In the run-up to the London Mayoral elections, work like this is vital to help support renters across the capital and make sure no one is priced out of London - wherever they live or work.
If you're thinking of moving to the north east London borough of Waltham Forest, be sure to check what letting fees you'd have to pay with each agent. Our friends at Waltham Forest Renters have published a list of all the area's letting agents and what fees they display online. A two-person household could find themselves paying between £150 and £792 depending on who they pick. The story has been picked up in the local press and by Londonist.
Although the main housing elements of today’s Queen’s Speech were reported in the week leading up to the announcement, it’s still very disappointing to have a housing bill outlined today that does nothing for the 11 million (and growing) private renters in this country.
This morning Greg Clark, the new Communities and Local Government Secretary, announced that the government would introduce a Housing Bill to extend the Right to Buy to tenants of housing associations - funded by the sale of high value council houses.
When faced with a housing crisis that forces millions of vulnerable people and would-be first time buyers into inadequate, insecure and expensive private rented homes, this is the last policy you would pick to fix it.
Ignoring renters could cost the Conservative Party the next election, according to new Generation Rent analysis.
On current trends, a third of parliamentary seats – including 96 held by the Tories – could be decided by the renter vote in 2020, but aside from vague plans to increase home ownership, the government currently has no plans to improve the lives of renters.
Will your MP help renters?
Generation Rent is calling on London’s 73 MPs to support reforms to improve the lives of the capital’s renters. Analysis of the election results shows that 34 of them could be voted out by renters in five years’ time.
Please ask yours to meet with us.
By the next General Election in 2020, there will be enough floating voters who rent to overturn the parliamentary majority in 34 London constituencies, currently held by 13 Conservatives, 20 Labour MPs and 1 Liberal Democrat.