Renters Reform White Paper - our verdict
After a consultation, a General Election, three Queen’s Speeches and a pandemic, the government’s plans for reform of the rental market are finally here. The commitment to abolish Section 21 that kicked off this process back in 2019 is still the centrepiece of the reforms, but there are wider changes to landlord regulation as well.Read more
Illegal rentals costing tenants £321m extra in energy bills
A quarter of a million landlords are letting families live in homes that are so expensive to heat they are illegal to let out. We estimate tenants in properties across England to be spending £321 million more this year on energy bills than they would if their homes met basic standards.Read more
Private renters – What choice(s) do we have?
Hannah Fearn recently focused on the Residental Landlords’ Association’s call to politicians to back regulations they feel will increase properties and raise standards in the PRS. All parties are urged in this election year to support this sector which the RLA feels has the potential to become ‘a first choice for those seeking a place to live’. Hannah points out that far from making an active ‘choice’ about their tenure, private renters of 2015 feel ‘trapped’ and optionless.
She’s right.Read more
Is your landlord safe?
A new national database, naming private landlords who have been convicted of safety breaches has been created by our friends over at Environmental Health News, the magazine of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health’s magazine. This follows a ruling by the information commissioner that the Ministry of Justice must release its list of property firm convicted under the Housing Act 2004 – initially the MOJ refused.Read more
The Housing Enforcers: a documentary with respect for tenants
I don’t mind admitting that the thought of a TV programme presented by Matt Allwright (of Rogue Traders) and based upon lifting the lid on the work of UK housing officers filled me with dread. Would ‘The Housing Enforcers’ be the ‘Benefits Street’ of the private rented sector? Who would Mr Allwright be directing his anger towards? Would a motorbike be involved? However, after the first episode, I feel rather more positive. Instead of simply cataloguing a whole list of tenant failings (my fear), this programme endeavoured to take a balanced and somewhat broad approach to the issue of how sometimes the places people live in are just not up to scratch.
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.
Read the Manifesto and sign up to the campaign.Read more
Compulsory registration of landlords and letting agents, mandatory safety checks; what we can take from the Welsh Housing Bill.
The motion to agree the general principles of the Welsh House Bill was unanimously carried in the Welsh National Assembly this week. The Housing Bill aims to improve the supply, quality and standards of housing in Wales and takes various aspects of housing into account, ranging from tackling homelessness to legislating within the private rented sector. In a positive move for renters, the Housing Bill specifically sets out legislation for compulsory registration and licensing of all landlords and agents. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the bill include a legal requirement for landlords to undertake regular safety inspections, such as electrical inspections, in all private rented housing, so the bill may yet improve.Read more