New research: give English renters control over their lives by learning from our neighbours

The prime minister has spoken passionately about her desire to give ordinary working class families ‘control over their lives’. More and more working class families now live in private rented homes. So finding a way to give private tenants a greater sense of control is going to be key to fulfilling the prime minister’s ambition.

We’re publishing research today that not only shows that introducing more secure tenancies will give renters a greater sense of control, but new evidence from Read more

Watch out for the Lump of Subsidy Fallacy

Governments repeatedly come up with new types of ‘affordable’ housing that don’t actually make homes genuinely affordable, because they hope this will help more people by making subsidies go further. But this is a mistake, because house building finances are more complicated than doing the weekly grocery shop.

Our new research published today (and covered in The Sun) shows just how few people on ordinary incomes can afford the private rent on an ordinary home. We all know … Read more

Autumn Statement 2016: what is needed to help the 'just about managing’ classes?

We are now a little under a month away from the Autumn Statement 2016, the first of Theresa May’s government.

Though these set pieces –  ‘fiscal events’ as civil servants term them – can feel a little overblown, they do really matter.

Firstly of course because public investment, while not the be all and end all, remains an important part of solving the housing crisis, especially when it comes to homelessness and affordability issues*. But secondly, and more importantly, because … Read more

License to thrill – new changes to HMO licensing are worth getting excited about

The government is extending mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation so 870,000 additional private tenants have extra protection from rogue landlords, including through minimum space standards. It is also consulting on further changes to improve the level of protection they get. While these are positive steps in their own right, the indication that the government continues to recognise the need for reform in the PRS is also hugely encouraging.

Tweaking HMO licensing regulation doesn’t exactly sound like the sort … Read more

Reducing homelessness needs bills and bricks

The latest version of the Homelessness Reduction Bill has been published, ahead of a crucial second reading vote that will determine whether England’s homelessness legislation is reformed.

Bob Blackman’s bill would replicate the broad approach of the system recently introduced in Wales. Local authorities would have to help all eligible households – regardless of priority need or intentionality – to assess and prevent or relieve their homelessness. Priority need households who are homeless through no fault of their own would … Read more

Why Evan Davies understands the housing crisis

On Newsnight last night there was an interesting debate about housing and homelessness. It was prompted by tonight’s BBC2 documentary which follows a London council’s helplessness in finding places for its homeless families to live. There were great points made by all the participants; including Jon Sparkes from Crisis and campaigner Poppy Noor – who has experienced the homelessness system herself.

However the point that struck me most was actually made by the presenter Evan Davies. He said:

“People who, … Read more

Launching the Living Home Standard

Today marks the launch of the Living Home Standard, a landmark report which outlines for the first time what the British public feel everyone deserves from a home.

This year marks Shelter’s 50th birthday and while we have had the chance to celebrate some of the successes we have had over the years, those celebrations have been bittersweet. Because in many ways, we wish we weren’t here at all; that we had succeeded in our founding ambition – to … Read more

MPs warn against weakening the homelessness safety net

The Homelessness Reduction Bill aims to reduce homelessness, especially for those who currently don’t receive help.  But MPs have today warned that the Bill should be redrafted to ensure that the existing protections for families and other vulnerable people are not weakened.  Shelter strongly support this.

Bob Blackman MP’s Homelessness Reduction Bill, which has its Second Reading in Parliament in two weeks’ time, has the laudable aim of reducing homelessness.

The DCLG Select Committee has today reported on its … Read more

London Living Rent – one piece of the housing crisis puzzle

The London Mayor has announced plans for a new ‘London Living Rent’. The recognition that private sector rents in the capital are too high is very welcome – and paying a reduced rent, on new Build to Rent properties, will help some people on middle incomes save up for a deposit. But the rent levels are still well above what many Londoners can afford – so the London Living Rent can only be one piece of a larger solution to … Read more

What are the benefits of longer tenancies for landlords?

Over the course of our campaign for the introduction of longer tenancies a number of landlords have got in touch with us to explain why they support giving renters more security. This post outlines the benefits to landlords of longer tenancies.

There is a growing need for longer, more secure tenancies in the private rented sector. More and more private renters are bringing up children or growing old in a rented home and they need to be confident they’ll be … Read more

May’s focus on the power of government is an opportunity for private renters

“We should employ the power of government for the good of the people.” Extraordinary words from a Conservative Prime Minister? Or, the articulation of a clear vision from a true One Nation Tory? Either way, the tone set by Theresa May’s keynote speech at party conference last week might mean good things could lie ahead for England’s private renters.

More and more of ‘May’s people’ rent

Why? Well firstly, in her conference keynote speech Theresa May reaffirmed her commitment to … Read more

We can supercharge the power of new building by giving private renters more security

The government’s continuing commitment to building new homes is welcome. But if we want to build ‘homes and not just houses’ then we will also need to focus on how to give more security to the private tenants who will occupy them.

It’s easy for the debate about building new homes to become a big numbers game. The risk is talking about building tens or hundreds of thousands of homes is too abstract and inhuman.

So when he was announcing Read more