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 2016-02-07 18:01:28 +0000
    James M, it seems I have to spell it out. Please pay attention.

    1) I’m sure the Chancellor knows what he is doing. He has stated it is his intention to remove the inequality between BTLs and OOs. By implication, he wants to stop BTL.

    2) Anyone going into BTL without large long term capital profit as one outcome being apparent to them is too stupid to be allowed to do so. They may dress it up with a variety of other excuses, much as you do, but that’s a main driver.

    3) I have offered my solution to this part of the housing crisis. You may not yet have troubled to read my post of an hour or so ago – I’m sure you will, you like reading thoroughly.

    4) As stated, this is only one aspect. Others, such as immigration, house building programmes, birth rates, local infrastructure etc. are not part of this forum. No doubt you will continue to use them as an excuse for your greed.
  • commented 2016-02-07 17:48:25 +0000
    Thanks, James, I genuinely appreciate your reply. I don’t claim to be an expert on shared ownership, but what I do know about it doesn’t convince me. I’ve seen examples where the other half of the partnership seems to act much as a stereotypical unscrupulous landlord would do, leaving the individual to pay for all maintenance, 100% of unexpected bills etc. I could go on, but the final issue would be; at what point would I get the option to buy the other part, and how would I afford it if I’d been paying part mortgage and part rent? I couldn’t afford to save anything under those circumstances so would have no lump sum, and with pay “rises” as they are, I’d not be able to significantly increase any mortgage, so would seem doomed to own part of such a property but never all. Maybe there is an answer, but it’s escaped me so far. I’ll keep researching…
    The reference to supermarkets was in reply to the suggestion along the lines that in my fantasy world, they should be nationalised too as food was as essential as accommodation, but I think that point may have been made by someone else, not yourself.
    Finally, paying rent to ANY profit making landlord, be it a private individual or a corporation such as you describe, is unacceptable to me. NPFs only, I’m afraid, with the profit going back into new property.
  • commented 2016-02-07 17:47:00 +0000
    Paul, thank you for your input. The reason this recent exchange started between FW and myself was that I posted a link to a blog that offers a plan to solve the housing crisis, which I thought may be of interest to visitors here. Alas FW does not seem to have read it but just posted a sarcastic remark back. The exchange between us has pushed the link well beyond this page but I shall offer it again. Government doesn’t seem to have a plan, which of course is indicative that they aren’t really that concerned. That in turn is supported by the fact that the housing minister isn’t even in the Cabinet, so you will perhaps appreciate how crucial housing is to them (not). Incidentally the Housing Minister (Brandon Lewis) comes out with some really unintelligent remarks such as comparing over-crowding on Big Brother to being like a British landlord, not mentioning of course that he is a landlord himself!

    As to the link re James Fraser and his experiences with informing tenants of rent rises, it may well be that you or anyone else here has not had such a letter. Often of course houses are managed by letting agents and sometimes they do not even inform the landlord that they ae imposing a rent increase, and indeed other charges. Full time professional landlords rarely increase rents on a tenant in situ. I actually had to learn the process of doing this with the rents I’m increasing as I had never done it before. I can also advise that I know literally hundreds of landlords and I’m proud to say that I actually know James and can call him a friend. He is one of the most caring people I have had the privilege to meet and if he says that’s what happened then I can assure you that it is.

    FW your comment re profiting in the long term on capital gains may well be true but in my experience that is not in most people’s minds when they get into the industry. Perhaps you would have held a different view in say, 2010 when house prices had dropped well below purchase price for many.

    You are of course entitled to your views on how letting should be managed, though it sounds quite extreme to me to have all houses let by the State, particularly at a time when they are doing their best to sell them off. We agree I think, that this is wrong. It seems then that you are in favour of the big institutions that are being given the go-ahead to build rental units, after of course making donations to the Conservative party. Lets see how it pans out but if you think they’re going to give you the same rent year after year like professional landlords do, then I think you will be mistaken.

    However you still do not offer a solution to the housing crisis, and nor do you answer my points about who is going to suffer through this taxation, how it is going to hurt low-paid families and their children and make their situation hopeless. Remember that councils are very aware of this problem coming and it is through taxation you support. In terms of unscrupulous landlords that are trying to ‘squeeze the blood’ out of their tenants I’ve also shown you that that is exactly what Osborne is proposing to do and you make no comment. Of course whilst he is saying that these families will have to pay ‘market rent’ he is also forcing up the market rents through taxation. Do you still support him with this attack?
  • commented 2016-02-07 17:28:09 +0000
    Well actually Foxwatcher, you’ve surprised me there. That was quite a reasonable answer and clearly with some thought-out political ideology behind it. I wouldn’t have a problem with the scenario you describe (if all forms of tenure were still legal etc) and of course some universities do or did exactly that – although have delegated much responsibility to the private sector recently. Why don’t councils/charities/HAs etc venture into short-term or voluntary private renting? It’s a genuine question. Councils can’t but charities could. I’ve often asked Shelter why they won’t invest their £51m/year income into housing the homeless but they are strangely disinterested. The whole reason private landlords exist – ever existed – is because such institutions wouldn’t or couldn’t provide on the necessary scale.

    I’m all for more building but I’m not sure existing big builders would be keen on losing their customers – look what happened to the share prices when Osborne announced clause 24.

    As for choice between supermarkets, you are free to look round a variety of private landlords – Im not sure I get the reference? Also, soon you’ll be able to choose to rent from a corporation, where your rent money will go directly into the pockets of… er… Big-business profiteers! Instead of those evil teachers, firemen, driving instructors etc…

    One other genuine query – doesn’t shared ownership work for you? There are routes into your own place without having to deal with either private landlords or ludicrous mortgage demands?
  • commented 2016-02-07 16:50:14 +0000
    James R and Paul, I think it’s all posts today that you’d expect to go on to page 2 that are disappearing. Maybe they’ll be back tomorrow? I thought I’d answered that question, James. I have no problem with rental properties as such. There need to be many, for many different and good reasons, and short term temporary relocation such as you describe is one. But the owners should NOT be private individuals, nor any profit making firm or association. Let’s refer to my preferred owners as NPFs (Non-Profit Firms) and they could include, but not be restricted to, local councils, housing associations, charities, national governmental departments, universities, maybe some large multi national companies who need to move staff internationally (but that needs a bit of thought) and similar bodies. They should be properly and strongly regulated to provide the quality you describe. But any/all profits after maintenance and running costs from either rental income, or more likely capital appreciation, should be used by the NPFs to build new properties within their catchment area. This money should not go to private individuals to fund their lifestyle or retirement. This would continue the funding for the building industry and contribute to the economy, but would stop BTLs buying properties for their own gain and continually denying younger people the opportunity to buy their own home.
    Likewise, I have no issue with pension funds etc. making money from the building sector. That’s what capitalism should be about, benefitting those who contribute. I do have a problem with one individual taking rental income to profit from the capital gain on a property. It’s selfish and greedy. You wouldn’t, presumably, mug a pensioner at a cashpoint to finance an evening out – why do essentially the same to the younger generation where they live?
    Classic cars and other investments are different – I don’t have to have a Bugatti so can choose to ignore that market, but I do need to live somewhere, and why should a private landlord profit from that? Likewise, I can choose which supermarket to shop at, or use a food bank maybe, so that’s not a correct comparison.
    I hope that answers your two simple questions.
  • commented 2016-02-07 15:51:32 +0000
    It seems it’s my comments that have mysteriously disappeared.

    Fox Watcher, one thing we genuinely agree on is landlord quality. Some ARE shockingly bad and I hate those people as much as you do. Higher quality and lower rents are precisely what the good or professional landlords seek to provide. Standards must be higher and vigorously enforced.

    But to both you and PT, who want the immediate end of private rented property, Im still seeking answers to my two reasonable points. Where do the shorter-term renters who choose that option go? Where would you house me on my 1-year contract 200 miles from home – presumably you’ve thought about it? And how is it possible for landlords to buy every new build whilst simultaneously not contributing to the economy?!
    Also, why should it be mandatory in your eyes to have a pension that profits long term through company speculation, including builders and banks (and rentiers like British Land and Land Securities) but not one that profits long term as an individual investment? It’s ok if I make £50k over 10 years on a classic car or a painting, but not if I provide someone a quality home that they want and love?

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What happens to rents if landlords exit the market? Nothing.

Today we publish new research looking at the relationship between the size of the private rental market and rents, in light of the credit crunch, landlord tax changes, and proposals for tenancy reform.

We demonstrate that:

  • A fall in rental supply is matched by a fall in demand as renters become home owners
  • There is no impact on inflation-adjusted rents - in fact they've been falling
  • The experience of the past 14 years suggests rents are most closely linked to wages - i.e. what renters can afford to pay
  • This should give the government confidence to press on with substantial reform to tenancies
Read more

Is Onward's policy Right to Buy for private renters?

Right to Buy was electoral gold dust to the Conservatives back in the 1980s, but since council homes were sold off unreplaced, and the social housing sector dwindled, it has lost its lustre. With housing policy the key to winning over today’s 18 to, er, 45 year olds, it’s no wonder some in the party have taken up alchemy.

Onward, a think tank peopled by former government advisers, thinks it has the answer, which is about as close to Right to Buy for private tenants as we’re likely to get. Because the property is not the state’s to sell, it’s merely Chance to Buy.

Read more

May removes yet another obstacle to council home building

This week has been the Conservative Party's conference, and their chance to match Labour's pledges to abolish Section 21 and seed-fund renters' unions. 

There is a lot of worry among the party faithful that they are not doing enough about housing - the defining political issue of a generation. But with consultation responses on security being scrutinised by officials back in Whitehall, and Help to Buy facing negative attention, their options were narrow.

Read more

Mayor of London backs indefinite tenancies

At the Labour party conference this week, delegates adopted a motion to (among other things) "Help private renters with an end to ‘no fault’ evictions, controls on rents and new minimum standards, including three year tenancies as standard." 

The BBC reported on this commitment, but beyond the wording of this motion and John Healey's speech, we haven't had any more detail of what this would entail. 

Luckily, Sadiq Khan has obliged. While the Mayor of London is not a member of the Shadow Cabinet, last week's publication of his response to the government's consultation on longer tenancies revealed that he is calling for much the same thing, plus some more idea of what it might look like in practice.

Read more

Labour signs up to #endsection21

We kind of knew this already, but Labour is officially backing our campaign to end Section 21 and will scrap landlords' ability to evict tenants without giving a reason. It was reported by the BBC this morning, was part of the shadow Housing Secretary John Healey's speech in the conference centre, and then a motion on housing that included it was passed.

This follows members of the End Unfair Evictions doing a lot of work behind the scenes to successfully get local Labour parties to support the motion.

An even bigger piece of news was a £20m pot to jumpstart tenants' unions in the UK, reported by the Independent

Read more

Before you rent: How to protect your legal rights

Finding a flat to rent in England can be tough. The stress only compounds when things don’t go as planned. When I lived in London, I got caught out when my landlord insisted on “renegotiating” the tenancy terms after I had paid a holding deposit (a troublingly common practice in the market).

Here are twelve things tenants can do to protect their rights, which helped me succeed in my legal claim against my landlord.

Read more

Cabinet split over tenancy reform

On Wednesday, the Sun reported that 10 Downing Street and the Treasury are blocking moves to legislate for longer tenancies.

Although the recently closed consultation left open the question of making the new tenancy mandatory or voluntary, the same newspaper had previously reported that the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, wanted all tenants to get it.

That sets up a big internal government battle over tenants' rights as the Conservative Party worries more and more about winning over younger voters. 

Read more

Public backs better security for renters

As the consultation period on the government's proposals for longer tenancies draws to a close - the deadline to respond is this Sunday - we are handing in our End Unfair Evictions petition to the Ministry of Housing today. It passed 50,000 signatures on Tuesday, helped along by #VentYourRent.

And if that wasn't enough to make the government pay attention, new polling from Survation finds that our demands have the backing of the wider public, including Conservative voters.


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No-fault evictions drive up homelessness

Section 21 is the leading cause of statutory homelessness. This law allows evictions with no reason needed, and this is one more reason why we should scrap it.

To some extent, this is stating the bleeding obvious. Since 2012, the end of a private tenancy has been the leading cause of homelessness cases accepted by local authorities, but until now no one has specifically pointed the finger at Section 21. Today, we've been able to demonstrate it.


Source: Ministry of Housing

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Proof that millions of renters are failed by unfair rental laws

The latest English Housing Survey was out last week, and the results are further evidence for what we’ve been arguing for years: England’s rental laws are making life insecure and expensive for growing numbers of people.  

Read more