Is your landlord safe?
A new national database, naming private landlords who have been convicted of safety breaches has been created by our friends over at Environmental Health News, the magazine of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health’s magazine. This follows a ruling by the information commissioner that the Ministry of Justice must release its list of property firm convicted under the Housing Act 2004 – initially the MOJ refused.
Amazing job opportunity at the National CLT Network
We want to tell you about an amazing job opportunity for a Programme Manager that has just come up over at our friends, the National Community Land Trust Network.
House prices remain as high as ever
Today the ONS released its latest House Price Index, showing UK house price inflation to the end of October 2014. Really, not much has changed. Whilst inflation has slowed a miniscule amount, falling from 12.1% in the year to September to 10.4% in the year to October, this is still a worryingly high figure for those struggling to buy their first home. Indeed, once seasonal adjustments have been taken into account, inflation has actually risen by 0.1%.
A new tool that makes housesharing that little more bearable
Our friends at Splittable have launched a new free tool for renters – CEO Nick Katz explains
It's December...Rising Rents & Increased Homeless
Rising Rents & Increased Homelessness
Today there have been a range of statistics released on the private rented sector, mortgage lending and homelessness which confirm a fairly gloomy picture for those stuck privately renting.
Controlling rents: A response to the private renting affordability crisis
Today Generation Rent has published a proposal for a flexible rent control policy, aimed first at London but applicable to anywhere where the rent is too high. Diane Abbott MP has kindly written the foreword.
Stamp Duty reform, but nothing for renters
George Osborne's final Autumn Statement before the General Election has been trailed across the media since Sunday, including announcements about housebuilding as part of the National Infrastructure Plan. A lot of this - including the garden city in Bicester - is fairly old news, but it's interesting that the government is planning to get directly involved in building houses - 10,000 of them just outside Cambridge.
The Treasury might want to use this as an opportunity to try out Generation Rent's proposed model of a bubble-free housing market - we estimate that it would cost £1bn to build 10,000 homes, sell them at little over cost-price and plough the proceeds into another 10,000 home project. Those new houses would be shielded from any above-inflation price rises.
When it came to the Statement itself, earlier this afternoon, Osborne had very little to offer those who want cheaper housing. His big announcement, which is bound to dominate tomorrow's front pages, was the reform of stamp duty.
ONS: costs for renters keep rising
The ONS has today released its Family Spending statistics up to the end of 2013. These show that families’ weekly expenditure has begun to increase, following a steady decline since 2006, although levels of spending still remain lower than those of 2006 once inflation has been taken into account. The decrease was due to families cutting back on non-essential items following the recession. This increase can be attributed to rising housing and transport costs, forcing families to find money to cover their basic needs.
Immigration checks: a pointless tax on tenants
New checks to prevent undocumented immigrants from renting homes risk come into force in parts of the West Midlands today. Under the Immigration Act 2014, landlords are required to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants.
This is an awful policy that will cost renters and benefit no one:
- With no government funding for this, added administration costs may simply be passed on to renters through extra letting agent fees or higher rents.
- Far from preventing undocumented immigrants from finding a home, the policy will see already vulnerable tenants forced into illegal tenancies and poor housing conditions.
- The checks also put more than 1m families at risk of being discriminated against by landlords and letting agents.
- It will exacerbate problems already faced by many international workers and students with paperwork complications, especially in flatshare situations. This could also have the unintended effect of discrimination in choosing housemates for flatshares
- This in no way targets rogue landlords as the Home Office claims, but targets both migrants and undocumented UK citizens while increasing the xenophobia that is already on the rise and reducing community cohesion.
Tenancies (Reform) Bill talked out
Five hours is a long time in politics. But not too long if you deliberately want to block a measure that would benefit millions of private renters.
Earlier today, despite overwhelming support from MPs in all parties, the Tenancies (Reform) Bill was not voted on after backbench Conservative MPs (and landlords) Philip Davies and Christopher Chope spoke for hours ad nauseum to stop its passage.
Renters howl for housing outside Parliament
More than 50 private renters demonstrated last night against the spate of revenge evictions that are taking place against tenants with the temerity to request safe and healthy living conditions.
Armed with placards, demonstrators descended on Westminster to push MPs to ban eviction of tenants when the House of Commons debates Sarah Teather's Tenancies (Reform) Bill on Friday.
GMB Young London organised the demo, which brought together Renters Rights London, PricedOut, Hackney Digs, Brent Advice for Renters and Generation Rent. MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell took time out from the chamber to give us their support.
One more chance to ban letting fees
The issue of lettings agent fees is back in parliament next week with an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would make it an offence to charge fees to tenants.