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.
At the General Election in June, Labour won a majority of the votes of the under-40s. This was a wake-up call for the Conservative Party, many of whose members are now filled with a new urgency to address this cohort's biggest concerns - including a rather large house-shaped one.
Their annual conference has duly been bursting with new housing policies, particularly for private renters. But while they are (for the most part) improvements, the proposals fail to address the urgency of the housing crisis.Read more
Before she was fast-tracked to 10 Downing St - in one of many dramatic twists in recent weeks - Theresa May gave us a glimpse of how her housing policy might differ from David Cameron's.
Launching her leadership campaign in Birmingham on Monday, May went further than Cameron has ever done in describing the the damage that house price inflation causes:
"...unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced. And more and more of the country’s money will go into expensive housing instead of more productive investments that generate more economic growth."
After months of debate and campaigning, the London Mayoral election is imminent. Despite housing being the absolute number one issue of the election, the two frontrunners have not managed to face each other to debate it.
There have been general hustings between Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, including the Evening Standard and Centre for London debate on 21 April, where, amid heated exchanges on policing, transport and extremism, the only real look-in that housing had simply highlighted the similarities between the candidates: building ambitions, first dibs for Londoners, and refusal to build on the green belt (despite Zac’s desire to paint Sadiq as a park concreter).Read more
The Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Zac Goldsmith, has published his housing manifesto, and we've updated the Vote Homes policy grid with his offer for London's renters.
As the candidate of the governing party in Westminster, it was always going to be interesting to see if he would go any further than current government policy. One of the biggest divides between the Conservatives and the other parties is on security of tenure, and it's safe to say that Zac has stuck his neck out on this, though we're yet to be convinced that renters will benefit from his proposal.Read more