Is Government covering up the housing crisis by cutting the English Housing Survey?
The Department for Communities and Local Government is currently consulting on how they can scale back the English Housing Survey, effectively sweeping the housing crisis under the carpet.
The EHS is a continuous survey that provides an annual and comprehensive data set on the stock conditions of housing in this country and the nature of our housing market, measuring characteristics like tenure for example.
Calling all renters in Hackney!
Do you rent from a private landlord in Hackney? If so, this blog post is for you! Hackney Council are currently conducting a consultation into the private rented sector in Hackney, reviewing their offer of services for tenants and landlords. As part of this, the council is considering whether a discretionary licensing scheme might be introduced.
Rent Freedom Day - videos now up
If you couldn't make it to Rent Freedom Day, we have the next best thing - video of two of the biggest events on the schedule: the opening speech from journalist, author and fresh-faced firebrand Owen Jones (20 mins), and the National Renters Hustings (1h15m).
MPs from four main parties came together for the first time in the real world to debate renting and face questions from the public. Conservative Mark Pawsey, Labour's Emma Reynolds, Lib Dem Minister Stephen Williams and the Greens' Caroline Lucas all bravely faced an audience that has long been overlooked by politicians and wants answers. UKIP was invited but didn't send anyone.
Making money like a landlord
Inspired by Savills' findings on landlord capital gains last month, we decided to look at just what sort of money landlords in the UK are making – and how much we the taxpayer are helping them.
As reported in the Guardian this morning, UK landlords make £77.7bn each year in rent and capital gains. This is more than Morocco’s GDP of £68.6bn (for a country of 33m people), making the industry the 61st largest economy in the world (UN 2013).
They are also subsidised to the tune of £26.7bn in tax breaks and housing benefit. That is higher than the £25bn of cuts that George Osborne claims are needed after the election. It is also more than our spending on the overseas aid budget of £10.3bn, job seekers allowance of £4.34bn, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s entire budget of £6.14bn, and the £1.13bn Affordable Homes Programme put together.
The cost of landlord subsidies to Britons is £1011 per household. That is the cost of a week’s holiday for four in Majorca, a 55” HD TV, or a Boardman Road Team Carbon bike.
Ending fuel poverty for private renters – where we are and where we need to go
Yesterday the Department for Energy and Climate Change finally laid down regulations arising from the 2013 Energy Act which seek to drive up energy efficiency in the private rented sector and bring down fuel poverty as a result.
On Rent Freedom Day, poll shows scale of housing crisis
As hundreds of renters gathered in Westminster yesterday to take part in Rent Freedom Day, a new poll we commissioned from Survation revealed how big an impact housing could have on the election - if politicians made it a priority.
Almost two fifths of voters (38%) would back a party that made housing one of its top three priorities, the poll found. It also revealed that the housing crisis is now affecting a majority of Britons, with 57% saying they, or someone they know, is struggling to buy or rent a suitable home.
Half (50%) of private renters are struggling to buy, while 43% say they are struggling to rent a suitable home, indicating that their current situation is difficult to live with.
A third of home owners (35%) say they know someone who is struggling to buy, which shows that many of those with the security of their own home are aware that there is a problem.
Rent control could swing the vote in Scotland
The outcome of the General Election looks increasingly likely to be determined by the party who wins most seats in Scotland: Labour or the Scottish Nationalists. Some new polling from Survation suggests that a rent control policy could be the deciding factor.
When asked what effect a political party proposing rent control in their manifesto would have on voting intentions at the May General Election, 25% of Scots said it would make them more likely to vote for that party. Only 5% say they would be less likely to vote for a party that offered rent control.
Private renters – What choice(s) do we have?
Hannah Fearn recently focused on the Residental Landlords’ Association’s call to politicians to back regulations they feel will increase properties and raise standards in the PRS. All parties are urged in this election year to support this sector which the RLA feels has the potential to become ‘a first choice for those seeking a place to live’. Hannah points out that far from making an active ‘choice’ about their tenure, private renters of 2015 feel ‘trapped’ and optionless.
Britain backs rent controls nine to one as housing costs soar
An exclusive poll for tenants’ campaign Generation Rent published today shows that Britain overwhelmingly backs the return of rent controls. The poll by Survation of 1,009 people on 18th and 19th December shows that 59% of people back rent controls and only 6.8% of people oppose them. 34% had no opinion. That’s one person opposing the measure for every 9 people who support it.
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.