Is stable renting the future?

This morning Ed Miliband announced that, if a Labour Government is elected in 2015, they will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. This follows the Government’s promise last October to produce a model ‘Family Friendly Tenancy’ and to encourage stable renting through their ‘How to Rent’ guide.

Labour’s default offers longer tenancies that limit rental increases and retain flexibility for renters. This is what Shelter has been calling for since September 2012, which is why we hope Read more

Low to middle income families need bigger, better shared ownership

Buying a family home used to be an affordable, achievable aspiration for many low and middle income families, those typically earning between £20-40,000. But not anymore. That’s the finding in Shelter’s new report on how low to middle income families are faring in our housing market.

Over the last decade, the number of low to middle income families buying homes has been in steady decline. For many, their only option now is to raise their children with a backdrop … Read more

The heart of the problem

I tend to see everything in the housing system as interconnected. This is not to say that I’m a hippy who believes in the healing power of crystals. It’s because I see the impacts of a single, massive failure to provide enough, decent homes at prices people can afford: from the renters who come to us for help, facing eviction because their landlord has fallen into mortgage arrears, to the families languishing in grim bed and breakfast accommodation because of … Read more

Politics and tenure: the state of play

Whatever your views on it as a policy, the electoral success of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’ policy showed one thing at least: the way to voter’s hearts is very often through their home. A strong offer on housing can play a big role in parties showing they understand voter’s lives, needs and aspirations.

Which is why as the housing market changes and the private rented sector expands significantly (particularly in swing areas), it’s interesting to view which of … Read more

Growing up renting

Imagine living in nine different homes before the age of eight. Then picture attending two different schools in the first three years of your education with another school move looming because your landlord has defaulted on his mortgage and there is nowhere else to rent by your school. This is the reality for the daughter of one family Shelter has spoken to and this isn’t out of choice.

A new survey of 4,000 private renters, out today, shows quite starkly … Read more

Guest blog: Mid-term (tenure) blues

We’re always fascinated to see how the kind of housing people have relates to their voting intentions. It’s great to have Ben Marshall, from the pollsters Ipsos MORI, blogging here on their latest analysis.

One stat really jumps out for me: that 62% of renters voted for coalition parties in 2010, but only 37% would now. Not surprising then that Ed Miliband announced a suite of policies for private renters on Saturday. If ever there was a reason for … Read more

Right to Buy: has its moment passed?

Was the Right to Buy the most politically savvy housing policy in recent decades? It tapped into the public mood – shifting towards aspiration – and allowed a substantial number of low and middle income households to realise that aspiration very quickly by offering substantial discounts when they bought their home.

In just five years, more than a million people bought their council houses, my grandparents among them.

Whether or not you agree with the policy of selling off council … Read more

We need to talk solutions as well as problems with renting

We’ve had a warm reaction to our proposals for better renting over the last week. It’s a real testament to policy makers’ and the industry’s acknowledgement of the world we live in – one in which millions of people on ordinary incomes cannot get the stability from their home that they need to plan for the future.

There is now increasing agreement that something must be done – that the political, social and economic consequences of leaving so many people … Read more

Renters: unregistered and unrepresented?

It’s the time of year when my council sends round letters to check that we’re registered to vote. Happily, I’ve been renting my flat for a while and confirmed our names on the register with minimal fuss.

As the political world gears up for a by-election in Corby and a Bill on electoral reform wings its way through Parliament, the letter did get me thinking about how many of my neighbours – a somewhat transient bunch – had done the … Read more

Waiting too long for a stable home

It’s a sad reality that in Britain we get used to putting up with the impact the high cost of housing has on our lives.

We accept having to spend an hour getting to and from work every day as we can’t afford to live any closer to our jobs. We think of the family homes we grew up in with nostalgia rather than aspiration, accepting we are unlikely to live anywhere similar. We pay half our salaries to keep … Read more

Even baby boomers worry about house prices

The Shelter policy team has been lucky to have Mike Smith volunteering with us over the summer. Mike had a long career in finance before looking to move into a policy role, so we’ve benefited enormously from his perspective.

As news reports today show that house prices have risen at three times the rate of inflation over the last decade, Mike reflects on how his generation has benefited…but suggests that perceptions may be changing.

‘Having turned fifty a year or … Read more

To buy or not buy?

What with me leading Shelter’s policy work on the future of the private rented sector, it was a surprise to my colleagues when I told them I was buying a flat. ‘That’s it, you’re out of the private rented sector!’ was Toby’s response.

The thing is, I am fed up with renting. I hate the magnolia walls in my flat, the worn laminate floors, the slope in the kitchen that means the cooker is wonky and one side of … Read more