Rented London: How local authorities can support private renters
Local council elections are taking place in London in a few months. And just like the 2016 Mayoral race, these contests will be dominated by the city's housing crisis. From Haringey to Kensington and Chelsea, Londoners are looking for secure and affordable homes, and asking their councils to respond.
First-time buyers taking out longer loans to escape the rental sector
The latest English Housing Survey report is out today with the highlights of their findings for 2016-17.
The private rented sector has continued to grow. The population now stands at 4.7m households, with 27% of families renting from a private landlord.
It is once again the largest tenure in London (if you separate outright and mortgaged ownership), and its doubling outside the capital in the past decade illustrates the national impact the housing crisis has had.
Homes fit for humans one step closer
Third time was the charm for efforts to revive the right of renters to sue their landlord for safety failures.
Karen Buck's Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill was talked out in 2015, then a Labour amendment to the Housing Bill in 2016 was defeated. But today, after winning the support of more than 100 MPs who attended the Second Reading debate, the Bill passed unanimously and is a step closer to being law.
Fitness for Human Habitation: Another milestone in the long road to a decent private rented sector
In another sign of the growing importance of the renters' movement in the UK, government announced over the weekend that it would be supporting measured outlined in Karen Buck MP's upcoming private member's bill, which would allow private and social tenants to take legal action against their landlord where their home is not deemed 'fit for human habitation'.
The return of 'fitness for human habitation' - will MPs finally give us this protection?
In ten days time, parliament breaks for the Christmas recess.
When they return in January, they will have an opportunity to support a simple change in law that would provide better protections for renters.
The question is, given that they have missed this opportunity before - will parliament do the right thing this time?
Getting the best from Newham's renewed landlord licensing scheme
This week those campaigning for a better private rented sector received an early Christmas present with the announcement that the Communities Secretary had approved the majority of Newham's proposal for a renewed borough-wide landlord licensing scheme.
Autumn Budget - an anticlimax for renters
The big news in today's Budget was the abolition of stamp duty for most first-time buyers.
From today if you buy your first home you'll pay nothing to the government on the first £300,000 (unless it costs more than £500,000 and you need to be super-rich before you're in that territory).
Life in the rental market: what the future holds for older renters
Most debates around housing focus on young adults, the drastic fall in their rate of home ownership and ways to boost the number of first time buyers.
Far less attention, however, is given to the vast numbers of renters who are already too old to get a mortgage and face a lifetime of renting instead. As more of them reach retirement age, the state will start paying more of their rent, and faces enormous costs unless it makes some fundamental changes to the housing market. Because politicians only operate with 5-year horizons, few are fretting about the implications of lifetime renting.
But we are, and today we publish a report co-authored with David Adler of Oxford University: Life in the Rental Market.
A glimpse of Tory tenancy reform?
An intriguing exchange in the House of Commons this week may contain clues about the government's big forthcoming announcement of reforms to tenancies.
During a debate on temporary accommodation, the backbench Conservative MP Bob Blackman said this:
The greatest cause of homelessness is the end of an assured shorthold tenancy. They usually run for six months and at the end of that period families often have to move. The solution is clear: we need longer tenancies and more security of tenure for families, but also assurances to landlords that they will get paid their rent and that the tenants will behave themselves in accordance with the contract they have signed. I ask the Minister to update us on where we are going with lengthening tenancies, which would dramatically reduce homelessness at a stroke. Perhaps we can do that.
Insecure tenancies drag down quality of life
With home ownership unaffordable and council housing unavailable, private renters are living longer in a tenure that wasn't designed to provide long term homes. The constant threat of your landlord deciding to sell up or move back in means that you have none of the stability that a home is supposed to provide.
New polling from Survation, commissioned by us, exposes the impact this has on tenants' lives. It shows that private renters are more anxious about the security of their home and this is holding them back from investing time in their home and their local community.
Slowly, but surely, a letting fees ban is coming
Almost a year after Phillip Hammond announced the Government's intention to banning letting fees, we now have a draft bill before parliament.
Since that announcement, we have had a consultation on the ban, and of course a new government, but it has remained on the legislative agenda thanks to the concerted campaigning of renters across the country.
Disrupting the market to help tenants
The internet has already shaken up the music industry, television, taxis and self-catering holidays. Investors are now looking for the next industry to disrupt with technology and property seems ripe for the picking.
As the national voice of private renters, we agree that the property industry as it stands fails its consumers in too many ways, so things need to change. Even when we succeed in changing the law, like the forthcoming letting fees ban, we still need to ensure that it's implemented properly and the industry adapts in the right way.
But we can't allow slick and revolutionary new services or initiatives to simply treat tenants as cash cows in the same way that many letting agents and landlords currently do. So this is what we think the market needs - and how the tenant should benefit.