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Another step towards land market reform
Another step towards land market reform

Two weeks ago, an unlikely coalition of around 20 organisations including charities, think tanks, and trade bodies came together to sign a joint letter calling on the government to address one of the biggest issues in housing: the urgent need to reform the 1961 Land Compensation Act.

On the face of it this may seem like a pretty dry issue, but as any avid reader of this blog in recent years will know, it is one that sits at the … Read more

The price households pay for poorly informed policy
The price households pay for poorly informed policy

The papers on housing affordability measures and their implications for policy released by

UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Excellence (CaCHE) this week are an important contribution towards fixing the housing crisis. They highlight the inadequacies of how policy makers often conceive of affordability, and in turn how policy levers can be used to improve affordability. The take away message from Professor Meen’s papers, as far as we are concerned, is clear; the government needs to do a lot more work … Read more

First-time renter? Here's what you need to know
First-time renter? Here's what you need to know

Renting your own place can be really exciting, but sometimes things can go wrong. Here’s a round-up of some of the most common questions we get asked about renting with a private landlord.

And just to say that this post relates to assured shorthold tenancies (AST), the most common type of tenancy if you rent from a private landlord. If you have a different type of agreement, or you don’t know, use our Tenancy Rights Checker to find the … Read more

Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords
Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords

This blog was written jointly with Rose Arnall in Shelter’s Legal Services.

The launch of our campaign to end DSS discrimination against renters on housing benefit has suggested that some landlords and letting agents may not be fully up to speed on how their policies could be putting them at risk of breaching the Equality Act 2010.

So we’ve put together some top tips to advise landlords and agents on how best to avoid discrimination.

Avoiding direct discrimination 

Most landlords … Read more

How we improved our helpline to reach more people in urgent need
How we improved our helpline to reach more people in urgent need

The housing enquiries people come to us with vary from minor landlord disputes, to homeless families facing a night on the streets. That’s why we decided to examine how we could make sure our housing advisers help callers to our helpline who are in the most urgent need.  

This also gave us the opportunity to see how we could improve our self-help services – like our advice webpages – for users who don’t necessarily need to speak to an expert … Read more

Permitted development: At what cost for the delivery of well-sized and genuinely affordable housing?

Last week, The Guardian ran a piece on a controversial conversion of offices into flats through permitted development rights (PDR). This article highlighted significant concerns about the tiny and sub-standard homes that are arising from the permitted development system.

Another issue, which we have previously flagged, relates to the non-existent contributions that these conversions are making to delivering genuinely affordable housing in England.

With flats as small as 13 square metres being created out of old office blocks, where we … Read more

Longer tenancies – what next?
Longer tenancies – what next?

On 26 August the government closed its consultation on three-year tenancies. Over the course of seven weeks, our supporters took advantage of a golden window of opportunity to make the case for more secure housing.

If longer tenancies became law, every renter in England would be better off. Renters would no longer live with the insecurity of being bounced from one house to the next on 6-12 month contracts. Instead they’d have the chance to make a house a homeRead more

Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Chris is a grafter. Always has been.

His painting and decorating business was what he loved and was a huge part of his identity. He always earned enough to be happy and never imagined he’d struggle to afford a home.

But one fateful day, he fell from a roof whilst finishing off the one last paint job of the day and his life turned upside down.

Chris woke up in hospital to find he’d sustained severe injuries including a broken … Read more

Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies
Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies

Guest blog from Mind

Shelter has recently been talking about why the government should change the law to give all renters longer tenancies. In this guest blog from Mind, Charlotte Furber, policy and campaigns assistant, tells us how living in unstable housing can have a negative impact on our mental health and why Mind is also calling on the government to change the law to address this instability.  

Housing is more than just a roof over your head. It’s about … Read more

An unlikely coalition for land reform
An unlikely coalition for land reform

What do Shelter, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Landlords Association, the New Economics Foundation and centre-right think tank Onward all agree on? Not much, admittedly. The world is round. Homelessness is bad. And we must fix the UK’s broken land laws to get a grip on the housing crisis.

Yesterday, this unlikely coalition published an open letter to James Brokenshire, the housing secretary. In it, we state a simple truth: ‘The root of England’s housing crisis lies … Read more

Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system
Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system

The government is consulting on introducing longer tenancies for private renters. Great news! But despite an announcement that the Secretary of State backs changing the law, there’s still a question about whether the government will follow through. New tax incentives and ‘better education’ are still officially under consideration alongside legal change.

It’s clear to us that anything less than legal change to give all private tenants more security by default isn’t meaningful change at all.

In this … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more