Making homes safe and secure in Scotland
As Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday 6 May, we have published our manifesto of policies the next government in Holyrood must adopt to create a fairer rental market.
In recent years Scottish renters have gained a number of new protections, which are currently denied to private tenants in England and Wales. Landlords can no longer evict tenants without a reason, which provides some security, but tenants are still vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases and loopholes that allow landlords ways around this legislation.
Making homes safe and secure in Wales
Private renters in Wales have a rough deal. Landlords can evict without needing a reason, meaning no security over your home, and little confidence to request repairs and improvements. For landlords who break the law, the penalties are not much of a deterrent.
What's worse is that the Welsh government is falling behind other parts of Britain - they do not propose to end evictions without reason (Section 173) as the government in Westminster has promised renters in England.
Generation Rent has published its manifesto for the next Welsh Parliament, which is being elected on Thursday 6 May.
700,000 renters hit with unfair eviction notices during pandemic
One in 12 private renters has been given notice to move out without a reason since March 2020, a new poll by Survation reveals today.
The survey, commissioned by us, indicates that as many as 694,000 private tenants have been served with a Section 21 notice during the pandemic, which allows landlords to evict tenants without needing a reason.
The survey also found that one in three private renters fears that they will lose their home in the year ahead – which represents nearly 3 million adults in England.
Londoners need a Mayor for Rent Controls
Paying more than a third of your income in rent is considered unaffordable. However, rent on a typical two-bedroom home costs some 45% of a full-time salary in London, analysis by Generation Rent finds today.
Moreover, private renters in nine London boroughs face paying half of their income or more on rent.
London's skyrocketing rents are pushing families into poverty and financial stress, and making it harder to save or to start a family.
The dangers women face as private renters
Content Warning: Sexual violence and Rape
The Sarah Everard case and Clapham Common vigil earlier this month have once again brought the ugly realities of violence, and especially sexual violence, towards women, to the foreground. These attacks on and manipulations of women cut through every part of our society, including the private rental market. This can perhaps most clearly be seen in the crime of Sex for Rent, which sheds a light on the depths of exploitation women face in every facet of their lives.
Rishi Sunak has missed an opportunity to end the Rent Debt Crisis
The Government has failed to bring in measures that would end the Rent Debt Crisis. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set aside no additional funding in yesterday's Budget to pay off rent arrears accrued under the pandemic, or to increase Local Housing Allowance to cover actual rents.
Heat our homes, not the planet!
Two thirds of private renters need much stronger energy efficiency standards if they are to enjoy warmer homes that are affordable to heat and free of damp and mould. That's what our latest research with the Generation Rent Renters' Panel finds.
Installing insulation and other improvements improves a property's value but landlords are leaving their tenants to put up with cold and draughty homes. Even the £5000 Green Homes Grant the government introduced in September has not nudged landlords into action.
As well as higher legal standards, tenants need incentives to demand improvements. Right now many don’t know if they will stay long enough to benefit from improvements and worry that their landlord would raise the rent if they made improvements. Tenancy reform is needed to give renters confidence to ask for improvements, and the ability to claim back rent if their landlord leaves them with an inefficient home.
Chancellor must set up a Covid Rent Debt Fund
Coronavirus has seen one in three private renters lose income, and Universal Credit is nowhere near enough to cover average rents. As a result half a million households are now in rent arrears of £730 on average, according to Citizens Advice.
We are calling on Rishi Sunak to use his Budget next month to create a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear rent arrears and keep renters in their homes.
Section 21 evictions forever hang over me - Anna's Story
Generation Rent supporter Anna tells her story of renting while Section 21 'no fault' evictions continue.
I have been renting my studio flat for about two and a half years. I received my first Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice in the summer of 2019, but it turned out to be invalid because the property lacked a mandatory license.
I received my second Section 21 notice in the middle of March last year, shortly before the UK went into lockdown. For me, the timing of this turned out to be fortuitous, because the accompanying eviction ban meant that my landlady didn’t have a chance to apply to the courts before the expiration of the notice. Despite the difficulties and reduced work hours that the series of lockdowns have caused me, the relative housing security the government afforded renters has been the silver lining.
Government research finds half a million private renters struggling
Last month we estimated that 538,000 private renter households had a shortfall between their Local Housing Allowance and the rent they owed.
Now the government's own survey has backed that up - it found 569,000 private renter households were behind on rent or at risk of arrears this summer.
The Ministry of Housing's Household Resilience Study, published today, has revealed the extent of the government's failings in supporting private renters through the pandemic.
What the NRLA has to say about mould
It is winter, so, like clockwork, mould is sprouting on renters' walls and, in response, letting agents are dishing out spurious advice like this:
Our letting agent sent us this letter, to remind us that “lifestyle activities” such as “breathing” may be the cause of condensation in our home. 🙃🙃🙃 pic.twitter.com/U0zgSCbGGY— Lucy Mort (@Lucyhbmort) November 17, 2020
More responsible landlords will look to their professional bodies for guidance to improve their tenants' living conditions. The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) are sharing this factsheet with its members to pass on to renters who are complaining about condensation, damp and mould.
We decided to take a look - and found that it is unfortunately little better than the cowboys' efforts.