Hammond Housing Horror
Despite repeated cries by the Chancellor that “your hard work has paid off”, the Autumn Budget was underwhelming in its efforts to address the housing crisis. In brief, nothing new for renters, a mixed bag for landlords, and support for first-time buyers moving into shared ownership. Several extra pots of cash for housebuilding but well short of what’s needed and nothing radical in terms of reforming the land market to funnel the proceeds of development to local communities and build more council homes.Read more
Labour signs up to #endsection21
We kind of knew this already, but Labour is officially backing our campaign to end Section 21 and will scrap landlords' ability to evict tenants without giving a reason. It was reported by the BBC this morning, was part of the shadow Housing Secretary John Healey's speech in the conference centre, and then a motion on housing that included it was passed.
This follows members of the End Unfair Evictions doing a lot of work behind the scenes to successfully get local Labour parties to support the motion.
An even bigger piece of news was a £20m pot to jumpstart tenants' unions in the UK, reported by the Independent.Read more
Cabinet split over tenancy reform
On Wednesday, the Sun reported that 10 Downing Street and the Treasury are blocking moves to legislate for longer tenancies.
Although the recently closed consultation left open the question of making the new tenancy mandatory or voluntary, the same newspaper had previously reported that the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, wanted all tenants to get it.
That sets up a big internal government battle over tenants' rights as the Conservative Party worries more and more about winning over younger voters.Read more
Cross-party groups give their verdicts on renting
This week we’ve had two reports from the political mainstream calling for a better deal for renters. They add to the pressure we’ve been putting on the government to improve tenant security – and though we contributed to both, they don’t quite go as far as we’d like.
The first was from the Resolution Foundation, a think tank chaired by Conservative peer David Willetts and run by Torsten Bell, previously adviser to former Labour leader Ed Miliband.Read more
Autumn Budget - an anticlimax for renters
The big news in today's Budget was the abolition of stamp duty for most first-time buyers.
From today if you buy your first home you'll pay nothing to the government on the first £300,000 (unless it costs more than £500,000 and you need to be super-rich before you're in that territory).Read more
Landlord tax evasion - what do we know?
A few weeks ago, the London Borough of Newham revealed that 13,000 local landlords had failed to declare their rental income, prompting estimates that £200m of tax was being evaded in London alone.
Today, Parliament has published an answer from the Treasury Minister Mel Stride to Frank Field, who asked what assessment the government had made of this. The Minister directed him (and us) to this information on tax gaps (pp54-5).Read more
Queen's Speech 2017: are you listening Westminster?
Before today's Queen's Speech, which set out the government's parliamentary programme for the next two years, there were two theories about how housing and private renting might feature, and what kind of prominence it would be given.Read more
The choice tomorrow
We haven't been posting much on here for the past few weeks as we have joined forces with ACORN on #RentersVote for the duration of the election.
There we have analysed each of the 5 UK-wide parties' manifestos and pulled it all together into one big graphic, so you can see what we made of their housing commitments side-by-side.
3.4m private renters risk losing their vote
With one week until voter registration closes, we've estimated that more than three million private renters in England are at risk of losing their vote at the General Election.
1.8m private renters have moved home since the 2016 Referendum and must therefore register again. Private renters are typically on tenancy agreements of no longer than 12 months and are six times more likely to move in a given year than homeowners.Read more
Huge victory for renters as Chancellor bans fees
There was some extra cash for "affordable" housing in Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement, but there was only really one big story from today:
The Government is going to ban letting fees!
This is a phenomenal achievement and the result of a tireless campaign over recent years by us, Shelter, Citizens Advice, the Debrief and local renter groups around the country.
Dozens of us investigated our local letting agents to build up the case for reform on www.lettingfees.co.uk. Thousands of us signed petitions and wrote to our MPs and the government listened.Read more