Half a million private renter households are losing £53m a month because the benefits system is failing to cover their rent. That is the shocking finding from our latest report on the impact of coronavirus on private renters.
Between February and August the number of private renters claiming benefits increased by 36% - or 507,000 households.
Two in five private renters (42%) – 1.9m households – now rely on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit to pay their rent, but miserly benefit rates mean that 538,000 households can’t cover their rent.Read more
More than 340,000 private renters in Great Britain work in sectors at risk of lay-offs when the furlough scheme ends. This will add to the numbers of people who cannot cover their rent because housing benefit levels are inadequate, and are at risk of arrears and eviction.
We are calling on the government to raise Local Housing Allowance to cover the median rent so that families do not get into debt and to set up a fund to clear the debts of renters who have already got into serious arrears by compensating landlords up to 80% of the rent owed. We are also calling for fast-track abolition of Section 21 “no fault” evictions to prevent unnecessary hardship now that courts have reopened.Read more
At the end of August, courts were poised to reopen for eviction cases. Tenants who had been served an eviction notice during lockdown would have been left with no more protection from losing their home.
We continued to push the government to make good on its promise to keep people in their homes. One renter, Nichola, who faces eviction with her two daughters, spoke out and started a petition that got nearly 40,000 signatures. At the eleventh hour, the government announced a one-month extension of the evictions ban until 20th September. It also extended the notice that landlords must now give tenants to six months, as of 29 August.
But the respite will be short-lived. Tenants who have been asked to leave are still facing huge uncertainty. And because so many people have lost income in since the pandemic started, prospects are grim.Read more
2.4 million private renters could miss out on voting at the General Election if they don't register to vote by midnight tomorrow.
Private renters move house more frequently than homeowners, and as a result, just 58% are correctly registered, compared with 91% of homeowners, according to figures by the Electoral Commission. Many renters are on contracts of just 12 months, and private renters are six times more likely to move in a given year than homeowners.
We've worked out which Parliamentary seats could be decided by private renters on 12 December - the seats in orange and brown have more unregistered private renters than the number of votes the last MP won by.
Renters in south east commuter towns and the edges of Greater London are at the highest risk of a no-fault eviction, our analysis of government data has revealed.
The worst place for evictions is the London Borough of Havering where last year 39 in every 1000 private renters were made homeless by landlords selling up, re-letting or evicting to avoid making repairs. And that's just people who sought help from their council - many more will have found a new home, but moved at their own expense.Read more
The House of Commons has read letting agent fees their last rites! This afternoon MPs voted to approve the final version of the Tenant Fees Bill signed off last week by the House of Lords.
From 1 June, private renters moving home will no longer have to pay fees to start a new tenancy in England. Agents will only be able to ask for rent, and refundable holding and security deposits (capped at 1 week’s rent and 5 weeks’ rent respectively). The only exemptions are fees to cover the cost of lost keys, late rent payments, changing the name on a tenancy or ending a tenancy early.Read more
Today we publish new research looking at the relationship between the size of the private rental market and rents, in light of the credit crunch, landlord tax changes, and proposals for tenancy reform.
We demonstrate that:
- A fall in rental supply is matched by a fall in demand as renters become home owners
- There is no impact on inflation-adjusted rents - in fact they've been falling
- The experience of the past 14 years suggests rents are most closely linked to wages - i.e. what renters can afford to pay
- This should give the government confidence to press on with substantial reform to tenancies
As the consultation period on the government's proposals for longer tenancies draws to a close - the deadline to respond is this Sunday - we are handing in our End Unfair Evictions petition to the Ministry of Housing today. It passed 50,000 signatures on Tuesday, helped along by #VentYourRent.
And if that wasn't enough to make the government pay attention, new polling from Survation finds that our demands have the backing of the wider public, including Conservative voters.
Section 21 is the leading cause of statutory homelessness. This law allows evictions with no reason needed, and this is one more reason why we should scrap it.
To some extent, this is stating the bleeding obvious. Since 2012, the end of a private tenancy has been the leading cause of homelessness cases accepted by local authorities, but until now no one has specifically pointed the finger at Section 21. Today, we've been able to demonstrate it.
Source: Ministry of HousingRead more