Leasehold abuse – why builders won’t mind if we ban it

Earlier this year, we wrote about the growing issue of exploitative practice in the leasehold system. We were pleased that the government’s White Paper pledged to tackle this problem, and that the need for action was reiterated in party manifestos. In July, DCLG published a consultation on ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’, to which Shelter will respond.

Many homebuyers have been subject to incredibly unscrupulous practices – from spiralling ground rents to unreasonable charges, and freeholds … Read more

What next for land market transparency?

As regular readers of this blog will know, Shelter has been campaigning for several years now for the Government to bring together and open up the huge amount of data collected on land and property. The Housing White Paper signalled the Government’s intention to take this further, with aims such as completing the Land Registry and releasing key datasets on corporate and commercial ownership and foreign ownership. And both the Conservative and Labour Party manifestos committed to greater transparency, with … Read more

New Civic Housebuilding: A better way to build the homes we need
New Civic Housebuilding: A better way to build the homes we need

New research released today by Shelter shows that across England, eight out of ten working, private renting families cannot afford a newly-built home in their area – even if they have been able to save up a large enough deposit.

But how can this be? We know we have a shortage of homes of all kinds, right across the country. At Shelter, we see the ramifications of this shortage every day: people coming to us for help, facing homelessness and … Read more

Government wakes up to abuse of the leasehold system - but this is just a symptom of a bigger problem

The recent Housing White Paper included a welcome promise that the Government will consult on measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of the leasehold system. There has been a steady stream of media coverage in recent months of new build homebuyers finding themselves trapped by spiralling increases of the ground rents they are required to pay on top of their mortgage. It’s good to see Government taking steps to help those homeowners directly affected by this – but worth … Read more

White Paper signals a genuine shift towards greater land data transparency

Measures to improve transparency over land ownership, control and use in yesterday’s Housing White Paper are extremely welcome – and not a moment too soon. Before Christmas, Shelter set out our case for greater land market transparency – so how do the government’s proposals measure up?

Overall, there was a marked shift in tone in yesterday’s White Paper, towards opening up information on our land and development markets for the benefit of local authorities, communities, and new entrants. The … Read more

Time to look again at viability?

A joint report released last week by researchers at a group of universities has confirmed some long-running suspicions. We have noticed in recent years that some developers seem to have been taking advantage of planning policy to maximise their profits – and so increase the amount of money they can offer landowners in the competitive land-buying process. They can do this by arguing down the amount they’re required to contribute towards new affordable homes, infrastructure, and community facilities, in the … Read more

Why should the Government improve land market transparency?

The lack of transparency in the land market is a serious barrier to building more homes in England. Shelter is calling on the Government to open up all land data held by the public sector, to let innovation flourish, allow the market to work more efficiently, and get more homes built.

All markets need good quality information to work efficiently. Without this, buyers don’t know what to bid for goods or services, and sellers don’t know what to ask. Poor … Read more

A different ball game for housing delivery

At next month’s MIPIM property industry conference, the Legacy Foundation, a charity founded by footballers Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble and Bobby Zamora, will be launching plans for its first scheme: 1,300 rented homes in Houghton Regis, near Luton. And they’re hoping this project will be the first of many.

The vision is admirable: the football stars want to provide social and affordable housing for key workers and low and middle income families across the country, with community facilities ranging from … Read more

Don't rule it out

It’s safe to say that housing was the key issue for Londoners heading to the polls last month – with the election fought by the eventual winner, Sadiq Khan, as a ‘referendum on housing’. But if the Mayor is to achieve his ambition of delivering the homes Londoners need, then he’ll need to consider all the options – including the green belt.

We’re encouraged to see that Sadiq Khan has started using his planning powers right from the beginning of … 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

Is a bubble about to burst?

Whisper it, but we might be heading towards a housing market crash. There’s been a slew of increasingly nervous articles about the vulnerable state of central London’s luxury new-build sector, and the consensus seems to be growing that this particular market is in for a bumpy ride. The Evening Standard have been cautioning of wobbles in developments around Battersea for a while. Capco have reported a slowdown in sales of luxury properties amid a glut of supply, and Morgan Stanley … Read more

‘That’s when I first realised – and I no longer assume children have beds.’

In Britain in 2015, teachers feel that it’s no longer possible to assume that every child has a bed to sleep in, let alone a safe and secure home to live in. We spoke to teachers and learning mentors in London schools, and the stories they shared shone a light on the consequences of the housing crisis. One told us:

‘One boy [with poor attendance], I was asking him where he lived – and he was so vague. He drew Read more