A blog from guest writer Zeph Auerbach asks - how much personal responsibility do we have for the housing crisis?
Now that the election is over, and Eurovision is a distant memory, London turns back to its favourite moan: the housing crisis. I frequently share this moan with my mixed group of friends: some renters, some homeowners, some letting out the odd room or flat. This conversation always seems to have an 'in it together' atmosphere, as we berate the property speculators, the oligarchs with vacant mansions, and most of all our government, which clearly sees its role as sustaining the rise in house prices (Help to Buy, pension reforms, reductions in stamp duty and so on).
But we ignore the elephant in the over-valued and under-sized room. This is an elephant which you'd see, if you looked hard enough, lurking in the corner of almost every Independent or Guardian article decrying the housing crisis. The elephant in the room is simply this: we find ourselves on opposing sides of this ‘crisis’ and for some of us this ‘crisis’ is something we profit from and sustain.Read more
There have been not one but two reports out in the past 24 hours which advise the government how it can boost housebuilding at the lower end of the market - something that was woeful under the past government with its slashed grant funding and so-called affordable rent.
In a bid to shake off the toxicity of the "affordable" tag, the National Housing Federation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Savills have produced a report into how living rents could be set and underpin an increase in housebuilding of 80,000 homes a year. Based on what is affordable on low incomes, their local "living" rents are set at roughly 40% of the market rate - instead of the 80% the government claims is affordable. Just £3bn of public money a year could fund this programme.Read more
Then ask your parliamentary candidates to support rent control
Looking for an affordable, stable place to live in London? Then you’ll have to move into the big house. Prison, that is.Read more
If the numbers add up for him next week, Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister and he will start attempting to reform the private rented sector with longer tenancies and rent stabilisation. We've already spotted holes in his plans that would undermine attempts to give renters better protections, but at least we support reform in principle. Most of the ire directed at Labour since they announced the policy is from those who oppose any form of regulation of rents.Read more
Sounds a bit strange to say this but it’s absolutely true, however, it will make your tenure more secure.
Labour’s proposal is to cap rent increases at inflation for the first three years of a tenancy. This doesn’t give you the ability to plan your finances – because you don’t know what the inflation rates will be over the next three years – but it is a long way from wild west situation we have today.Read more
You may have seen this letter going viral on Twitter:
Over the last 18 months renters and shared owners have been enticed to live in the East Village with the promise of being part of a new, exciting community. But for almost 400 households in "80% of market rate" intermediate rent, that dream is turning sour.Read more
Yesterday's Homes for Britain rally in Westminster attracted speakers across the spectrum, from Cathy Come Home director Ken Loach to UKIP's Nigel Farage. Amid the rhetorical fireworks was a small but important policy announcement which might have passed some people by.
The Liberal Democrat speaker, Ed Davey MP, said his party would offer government-backed loans to first-time renters under the age of 30 to cover the up-front costs of a tenancy. Generation Rent has been urging the government to adopt this policy since last year - it is already being offered to civil servants.Read more
Here's an idea that will save taxpayers money, help build houses in London and give a disadvantaged northern economy a welcome boost.
Move Parliament to Hull and convert the empty buildings into flats.