One year on after Grenfell, only 4% of the 158 social housing tower blocks with the same cladding have had it removed and replaced. In March 2018, we launched our campaign urging the government to step up and make sure these homes are safe. We asked the government to do three things:provide essential emergency funding to cover the costs of removing and replacing unsafe cladding for social landlords provide guidance on which materials are safe to use… Read more
Yesterday, we explored the fact that rent control already exists for assured and assured shorthold tenants i.e. those paying market rent. In this blog, we will discuss three potential reasons why this kind of rent control is under-used and little-known.Market rents too high
Assured shorthold tenants are able to challenge their rent in a first tier tribunal if they think it is excessive. But ‘excessive’ is defined as significantly higher than the landlord might reasonably expect to receive… Read more
Renting in the private rented sector? Think your rent is too high? You might be one of the 60% of Britain in favour of introducing rent controls. However, you might be surprised to know that rent controls already exist in England.
No, these are not the often-discussed historic ‘fair rent’ properties, the volume of which has dwindled to very small part of the market. Under ‘regulated’ tenancies, tenants are entitled to a ‘fair rent’ set by the Valuation Office Agency, … Read more
Last year, the Department for Health commissioned Sir Robert Naylor to produce an independent report into NHS property – including how to make best use of its land. The resulting report flew under the radar of all but the most diligent, but it contained some incredibly interesting insights into what could happen to NHS land.
On 30 January, the government accepted the majority of Naylor’s recommendations. This includes utilising surplus NHS land to make a financial contribution to estate improvement. … Read more
Part one of this blog looked at the councils getting tough on viability assessments. Faced with acute shortages of affordable housing, councils like Bristol City are pulling out all the stops to strengthen their position in Section 106 negotiations with developers. But the development of local policy to limit the damage being done by viability assessments is still in its early stages. Urban councils in areas of high housing demand in the south of England have been much more likely … Read more
Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.http://blog.shelter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/OBR-2048_NCH_Viability_animation-FINAL.mp4
Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers … Read more
Today saw the release of the English Housing Survey (EHS) – the most important source we have for understanding the housing crisis. This government survey collects details on the quality and conditions of the homes households live in. This includes the cost and affordability of those homes.
As the survey has been running for 50 years (in various forms), it’s an invaluable record of how the situation of English households has changed over time.Home ownership down
An Englishman’s home … Read more
The Grenfell fire not only left an indelible mark on the community of North Kensington, but also sent shockwaves through the rest of the country. It’s notable that the fire quickly became viewed not just as a terrible, avoidable tragedy, but also indicative of broader concerns about inequality and poor housing.
The public debate after the fire quickly centred on the allegation that residents’ concerns had been ignored. This led to the suspicion that people living in social housing were … Read more
On Friday 19 January, MPs debated the second reading of the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill. The bill passed unanimously after a positive and constructive debate, which saw MPs from all the major parties speak in support of it. We’ve been campaigning hard to get to this point, so were delighted to see the bill clear this important hurdle.
The debate covered some well-trodden ground. MPs took turns to share stories of constituents living in shockingly poor and unsafe accommodation. … Read more
These are exciting times for the select-but-growing band of Westminster-watchers interested in the role land value plays in our housing crisis – and in the wider economy.
Just before Christmas, there was the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, chaired by Sir Vince Cable. Then the Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee launched an inquiry into the ‘effectiveness of current land value capture methods’. This sort of language may not set pulses … Read more
Yesterday, London First released the latest round of their analysis of planning and housebuilding in London. The headline is stark – almost one in two planning permissions in London aren’t turning into actual homes.The scale of the problem
A total of 54,941 new homes received planning permission in London during 2014. Planning permissions generally last three years before they expire – so we would expect these to have been built or at least started by the end of 2017. … Read more
The ban on letting agent fees is now unlikely to come into force until Spring 2019 at the earliest. This is according to the latest update from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Spring 2019 will be nearly two and a half years since the government announced its intention to ban fees. This also, somewhat surprisingly, means it will have taken longer to design and implement the ban on letting agent fees, than for the government to negotiate … Read more