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.Read more
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.Read more
After six months of no evictions taking place at all, courts have reopened and landlords can resume the legal process of evicting their tenants.
Despite the government's insistence that "the most egregious" cases will be prioritised, tenants can still be booted out without a reason, with no ability to appeal it and only six weeks' grace if they face "extreme hardship".
This is possible because of Section 21, the law that the government promised to abolish last year. Today it is exactly one year since the government closed it's consultation on proposals to change the law, and we are still waiting for it to publish the Renters Reform Bill to make it all happen. Join our campaign to get Section 21 scrapped.
Earlier this month, the Chancellor announced £2bn of funding through a Green Homes Grant to insulate homes. Poor insulation is a huge issue for private renters: one in 10 of us live in a home that is unacceptably cold - that's twice the rate among home owners and social tenants.
But it's not easy to get landlords to make these improvements - landlords have no incentive to reduce energy bills that someone else pays, and tenants have no idea how long they'll live somewhere to benefit from better insulation.Read more
Dangerous, broken stairs, or mouldy walls making your family ill? What do you do if the landlord won’t make sure your home is safe? Private renters can contact their council, who have a responsibility to enforce housing safety standards. The council should investigate complaints and if they find a serious hazard, take enforcement action against the landlord, which triggers protection against revenge eviction for the tenant.
But new analysis by Generation Rent shows that just one in every 20 renters who complains to the council about poor conditions gets protection from a revenge eviction. Even when a severe hazard is found, tenants only get protection from eviction in 1 in every 5 cases.Read more
This week we launched the End Unfair Evictions coalition with ACORN, London Renters Union, and New Economics Foundation. We're calling for an end to Section 21, which allows landlords to evict tenants without needing a reason.
One reason we're doing is that existing protections are not working in practice.
Back in 2014/15, we fought a hard campaign alongside Shelter, GMB Young London and others to give tenants basic protection from eviction when they complained about their landlord.
The resulting measures in the Deregulation Act 2015 stopped landlords from serving a Section 21 eviction notice to tenants if the council had found hazards in the property and served an appropriate improvement notice on the owner. This protection lasted for 6 months and was meant to give tenants more confidence in getting their landlord to fix health and safety problems, because the landlord can no longer simply retaliate by kicking them out.Read more
This week we’ve had two reports from the political mainstream calling for a better deal for renters. They add to the pressure we’ve been putting on the government to improve tenant security – and though we contributed to both, they don’t quite go as far as we’d like.
The first was from the Resolution Foundation, a think tank chaired by Conservative peer David Willetts and run by Torsten Bell, previously adviser to former Labour leader Ed Miliband.Read more
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.Read more
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?Read more