Are we facing an evictions crisis?

Imagine knowing that you are going to lose your home but not knowing when the bailiffs will come knocking.

One look at this harrowing video of Angela being evicted by bailiffs tells you that there’s nothing easy about being evicted. But knowing when the bailiff will turn up is better than having no idea when they will show, and sitting there just waiting. Knowing when you will be evicted could give you time to get someone to look after … Read more

How do we tackle homelessness?

An independent review of our homelessness legislation, published today by Crisis, has concluded that the legal assistance owed to people threatened with homelessness must be made more inclusive. The review, conducted by a panel of independent experts, proposes changing the law along the lines of the new system introduced in Wales last year.

The Crisis study is not the only review of homelessness legislation going on. The Government has pledged to continue its financial support to councils, and is … Read more

What could a Citizen’s Income do for the housing crisis?

There’s been an upsurge of interest in Universal Basic Income (UBI), or Citizen’s Income. This would scrap means-tested payments and complicated eligibility criteria and pay all citizens a single amount. Could this major overhaul be the answer to the welfare system’s twin problems of giving too little support to those who need it, while winning too little public backing for the system as a whole?

A few people have been in touch to ask what Shelter thinks of UBI. … Read more

2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

Too often, renting is unsafe. Our Fix Renting campaign , launched in January, focuses on three ways to make renting safer:

Landlords to be legally responsible for doing electrical safety checks Letting agents made to better protect renters’ money All rented homes to be genuinely ‘fit for human habitation’

And thanks to the work of Shelter and our amazing supporters, the first two of them should now become law, along with strong measures tackling rogue landlords!

Changes to the law … Read more

A good day in court for homeless families needing Legal Aid

In an unexpected, but hugely welcome, turn of events, the Supreme Court yesterday found the Government’s proposed Residence Test for Legal Aid unlawful.

Most unusually, the Court gave its decision at the end of the first day of a two-day hearing, deciding that it didn’t need to hear the evidence on whether it was discriminatory. We will learn more about the reasons for their decision in due course.

The Residence Test would have prevented people who could not proveRead more

No vote, no voice: Renters need to register!

Are you renting in London?

Are you registered to vote?

Over a third of renters in London have moved 3 or more times in the last five years – and too often, when renters leave a home, they also leave their vote behind.

After the zillion things renters have to do when we move house (which, thanks to a terribly unstable rental market, we tend to do quite often), registering to vote sometimes doesn’t even make it onto our list.… Read more

DHP (Dysfunctional Housing Payments)

When you’re on the brink of eviction, what do you think it takes to get your council’s attention? A lot, it transpires.

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are the last chance saloon for families about to lose their home. Councils manage this pot of money, and are supposed to use it to help prevent people from becoming homeless, or in another type of housing emergency.

You may have fallen into rent arrears because of a housing benefit delay, or be … Read more

City or Casino?

We’ve talked before about the problems facing London’s luxury new-build market. Sales are slowing down, market values are falling, and investors are starting to pull out of schemes across the city. And if we are heading towards a major bust, the ramifications could be dire – not just in London but across the country.

But the London new-build market is notoriously complex. So much of what is known about it is anecdotal, based on clandestine conversations with developers and investors, … Read more

Watch: how we can make renting better by stabilising rents

Last week, in the run-up to the London elections, Shelter published new research showing that over half of renters in the capital are struggling to pay the rent. And while the housing crisis is particularly acute in London, private renters across the country are struggling to make ends meet. On average they spend 43%of their household income on rent.

The effects of this are as far-reaching as they are damaging. A growing number of people are unable to save, … Read more

The Housing and Planning Bill risks missing out half of England’s young private-renting households

This afternoon, the House of Lords will kick-off the first round of voting on key amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill. Councils around the country will be forced  to make sure that 20% of all new homes on developments are Starter Homes, leaving very little room for social rent. Given that the government’s vision for affordable housing is almost exclusively through subsidised home ownership, it’s crucial to ask whether this does the job, particularly for households on lower … Read more

Three practical amendments Shelter is fighting for on the Housing Bill

The Housing and Planning Bill returns to the House of Lords for Report stage today. This is the stage at which crucial votes are won or lost by the government. There’s five Report days between now and the end of April, covering the wide range of issues in the Bill.

Since October Shelter and our supporters have been working tirelessly with government and Parliamentarians to try and influence this Bill. There are some positive aspects of the Bill – on … Read more

Gatekeeping council accused suicidal client of queue jumping

If you’re sick and go to A&E you can expect to be taken seriously, even if the receptionist suspects you could have waited for a GP appointment. You may be triaged, you may endure a long wait, you may even eventually be sent away without treatment if you really didn’t need it. But you wouldn’t expect to be fobbed off before you’ve even got a foot in the door.

Unfortunately people who need help because they are homeless cannot guarantee … Read more