MPs to debate housing supply on Wednesday
The government insists that it’s doing all it can to end the housing crisis by ramping up the rate of house building. So far it’s managed a modest bump, but earlier this week, we learned that it's forecasting another dip in 2014/15.
At a time when we need to double house building to keep rents and house prices affordable, to think that the government could allow a fall like this is staggering.
The Labour Party is calling a debate on the issue in Parliament next Wednesday, 9th July, to examine what has gone wrong and what can be done to boost supply.
What we could learn from the Swedish renting model
The coalition always seem very keen to look at what’s happening in Sweden and see what we could all learn from how they operate. Free schools, equality and healthcare are all models that have been viewed by jealous eyes in Westminster of how to do the right thing affordably. David Cameron himself is a close friend of the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
The one model that has never been mentioned in the UK politics debate is the Swedish housing model.
I have lived here in Sweden for three years now and I have discussed housing & renting with many Swedes whose eyebrows rise when I explain to them how the UK private rental sector works and the sums of cash involved.
I also have experienced first hand how housing works here and there are some startling rules that govern both buying and renting homes, I’m not certain if it’s a deliberate ploy to keep prices in check or simply just the “Swedish” way.
Long overdue: Time to improve electrical safety for renters
Generation Rent was very happy to attend the launch of a new report on electrical safety in the private rented sector last week, entitled ‘Home Improvement: Tackling Poor Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector’.
"Taxpayers get a great deal from landlord regulation"
Alex Hilton from Generation Rent supporting the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Private Rented Sector in calling for tougher landlord regulation
You can see the BBC News item here
Landlords waver on national register
Landlord representatives this week signalled they are ready to back down on their long standing opposition to the creation of a national register of landlords.
The easy way to implement a national register of landlords
A low cost implementation of a National Register of Landlords
The last time the government seriously considered implementing a National Register of Landlords (more accurately a register of tenancies) it was estimated that the cost would be £300 million. The proposal was parked, however, we suspect this figure was derived by simply asking well known consultancy firms what they would charge to deliver it.
Generation Rent, and previously as the National Private Tenants Organisation, has been calling for landlord registration for years. This briefing outlines the principal benefit of a register and a low cost means for implementation.
Half of Londoners want a house price fall
Alex Hilton (me) brandishing the Evening Standard today
The Evening Standard today splashes on an exclusive YouGov poll in which 50% of Londoners want house prices to decrease. The Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson have all stated publicly that they want house price rises to continue.
With half of Britain's renters in London and the South East, these powerful politicians are increasingly at odds with the public's day to day experience of the economy. They are also ignoring warnings from the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who has called the current state of the housing market "the biggest single threat to the economic recovery".
Right now, politicians seem happy for a free housing market to grind down renters as long as homeowners and landlords are content, and so they have offered no real solutions. We have offered a solution. Our paper, Buying out of the Bubble, outlines how a secondary, bubble-free housing market can be developed, offering low cost housing to people willing to forego free market-level returns in capital gain or rents.
A secondary housing market would provide affordable housing for those people who just want a home, not an investment, while insulating the free market from what will otherwise become a traumatic market adjustment, with dire consequences for London's economy.
Sign up as a supporter of Generation Rent and help us win a better deal for renters.
Director, Generation Rent
£40,000 competition to help renters with open data
Nesta and the Open Data Institute are offering a cash prize of £40,000 to the team that can devise the best way of using publicly available data to improve the lives of renters.
The Housing Open Data Challenge has been launched today at the HouseParty Unconference in Manchester. The Challenge invites businesses, startups, social enterprises and community groups to collaborate and compete with each other to answer the question, "How can we use open data to help people get the best out of renting?"
Get your MP to back renters
It was announced on Thursday that the House of Commons will be debating the Private Renting Sector next Wednesday 25th June from about 12.30-5pm.
There are over 9 million private renters in Britain increasingly getting a rough deal from landlords and letting agents. We’d like you write to your MP asking them to back our renters’ manifesto to create a fair and sustainable rental market for both tenants and landlords.
We’re also calling for a secondary, bubble-free housing market for those people who just want to buy or rent a home for a reasonable cost rather than an investment at a high cost.
MPs sold on our manifesto policies
On Tuesday evening we marked the launch of the Renters’ Manifesto with a reception in Westminster. We were honoured to have both Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, Emma Reynolds, and Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, speak at the event and set out their priorities for reforming private renting.
Emma Reynolds MP and Julian Huppert MP address the Generation Rent launch reception
Buying out of the bubble
This week we published our renters’ manifesto, a portfolio of reforms that will end the exploitation of tenants while ensuring a fair and sustainable market for landlords.
But the cause of the problems in the private rented sector often track back to the limited supply compared to the demand for homes and the effect this has on rental prices.
Generation Rent launches Renters' Manifesto today
Generation Rent has today challenged politicians to offer the electorate ambitious solutions to fix the housing crisis, as we launch our Renters’ Manifesto.
In the manifesto, which follows a public consultation, Generation Rent proposes:
- Reform of the private rental market, which currently fails the millions of renters now stuck there, with the right to a five-year tenancy and professionalization of landlords and letting agents.
- A new housing market that allows buyers to opt-out of rising house prices in return for a lower initial price.
- A new department with a remit to fix the housing crisis and save the taxpayer billions.
Nine million people in England – or nearly 4 million households – rent from a private landlord. Generation Rent has found that this figure has increased by an average of 180,000 households per year over the past decade as home ownership has fallen out of reach for more people. While mortgages for first time buyers were up by 50,000 in 2013 to 268,800 this is unlikely to reverse the long term growth of renting, especially with new rules that make it more difficult to get a mortgage and competition for houses from pensioners who will be free to use savings to invest in buy-to-let.
There are enough private renters with no party allegiance to overturn the majority in 86 constituencies at next year’s General Election. This Manifesto offers political parties policies that will help them win over this newly important electorate.