From tomorrow, 1 April, the cap on energy prices increases by 54% - the largest since it was introduced. This will affect anyone who is on a variable tariff. The changes are slightly different for people on prepayment meters – just 14% of the population, but more likely to be private renters.
The price rises are a result of increased global demand for gas towards the end of last year, which is pushing up costs of heating our homes and also the electricity that is generated in gas power plants.
The war in Ukraine started after the increased price cap was announced, so the even higher wholesale gas prices arising from the conflict are not yet reflected in the new cap. We're expecting a further increase of a similar magnitude on 1 October.
Here are twelve things to know as a private renter.Read more
At the end of January 2020, I was made redundant. However, I was given a much appreciated redundancy package with severance pay, and was able to quickly find a new job to move into. That was however before the coronavirus and lockdown was enforced and, at the end of March, I lost this job as well. I was able to temporarily pay my rent and living costs from my original severance pay, but under the unaffordable rent costs in London, these savings soon dwindled away.
In good faith, and in an effort to avoid debt, I contacted my landlord, requesting that, with the allowances property owners had been given by the Government, I could have a rent reduction until I found another job. My request was met with an outright rejection, and I quickly started receiving aggressive letters from my landlord’s solicitors, demanding that I pay the rent in full. This was impossible, and I was forced to terminate my tenancy in London and move away.Read more
It's finally here! After announcing in April its intention to abolish Section 21, the government has published its proposals for making this happen.
We've been through the consultation document, which is open for responses until 12 October, and here's a quickish summary of what's in it.
We'll be preparing our own response, but we also want to hear what you think. And most importantly, we're looking at how to make it easy for renters to respond and make sure the government does this right.Read more
The Mayor of London has come out firmly in favour of our campaign to end unfair evictions - and has pushed the government to give him powers to bring in rent controls in the capital.
He was elected in 2016 on a pledge to shake up London's private rented sector, and now, after a long consultation period, Sadiq Khan has unveiled his proposals.Read more
At the launch of the Affordable Housing Commission in October, the chair, Lord Best, a veteran of august commissions spanning the past 30 years, related an experience he’d had with one that was looking at The Future of the Family.
More than halfway into the process, its chair came to meet its sponsor (then plain old Richard Best) and admitted that they were a little behind schedule. They hadn’t managed to agree on a definition of “family”.
From the off, members of the commission – of which I am honoured to be one – are therefore highly conscious of the need to get the basics right. But not only do we need to know what “affordable” means (already the subject of much controversy in the housing world), but I think we also need to define “home”.Read more
You’ve probably heard of Airbnb. But you might not have heard of Flipkey, HomeAway, HomeStay or Hostmaker. The concept stays the same - property owners rent out their house or flat for ‘short-term lets’, also known as holiday homes. They can be a great solution for covering your rent or mortgage bills for a few weeks whilst you’re away or utilising that spare room in your home.
But the problem is that local communities are finding more and more entire properties becoming permanent holiday homes. It’s eating up the market of houses that families can call home, and pushing up local rents.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
At the Labour party conference this week, delegates adopted a motion to (among other things) "Help private renters with an end to ‘no fault’ evictions, controls on rents and new minimum standards, including three year tenancies as standard."
The BBC reported on this commitment, but beyond the wording of this motion and John Healey's speech, we haven't had any more detail of what this would entail.
Luckily, Sadiq Khan has obliged. While the Mayor of London is not a member of the Shadow Cabinet, last week's publication of his response to the government's consultation on longer tenancies revealed that he is calling for much the same thing, plus some more idea of what it might look like in practice.Read more
The harsh reality of the UK’s sometimes savage housing market is that more people are renting their homes until later in life but paying more for the privilege of doing so than their parents did.
In England the number of private renters has increased from two million to 4.5 million between 1999 and 2015 while renting a home has been eating up a steadily increasing proportion of renters’ income, rising from 8% during the late 1960s to over 27% today, on average. Here we look at the key trends driving up rents across the nation in recent years.Read more
This week Trust for London, in conjunction with Loughborough University, published their latest report on a Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for London - with figures updated from their first report in 2015, and with a focus in this research on families.
The MIS compares costs between London and the rest of the UK to show the difference between the minimum needed for an acceptable standard of living - with that minimum based on a list of goods discussed and agreed upon by the public.
We can draw many conclusions from the report, and though it should surprise no one that the cost of housing is a major differential between London and the rest of the UK, the research shows that the rising cost of private rents in the lower end of the market stops a large number of households achieving the MIS.Read more