Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far
Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far

Despite all the pressures that Brexit is placing on parliamentary time, the Tenant Fees Bill has been making rapid progress through parliament. While this speedy parliamentary journey may be good for moving the bill closer towards implementation, we shouldn’t forget there are still areas of the legislation (as currently drafted) that will leave private renters open to continuing exploitation.

Here’s our update on the parliamentary journey so far, which sets out the areas the government still needs to address … Read more

An introduction to housing courts
An introduction to housing courts

At last year’s Conservative Party Conference, Sajid Javid announced that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would consult on the case for a specialist housing court. The government wanted to explore whether a new housing court could improve court processes, making it quicker and cheaper to resolve disputes – particularly for landlords and tenants.

Since this initial announcement, MHCLG has said little publicly about its plans for consultation. However, the idea of a specialist housing court has … Read more

How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees
How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees

There’s something to celebrate for private renters: the government’s hotly anticipated ban on letting fees is approaching its second reading. Because for too long, renters have been ripped off – shelling out £272 per person (on average) in fees. Together with our supporters, we’ve campaigned for years to stop this, so we’re delighted to see the government taking action through the Tenant Fees Bill.

Letting agents, and some landlords, aren’t quite so jubilant. Their days of charging outrageous fees are … Read more

Right to Rent: Tenants are footing the bill in fees

Last week the government tightened its Right to Rent rules, making it a criminal offence for a landlord to let to anyone they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, is an illegal immigrant.

Under the policy, landlords must check that their tenants can legally rent a property. Tenants must produce a document, such as a passport or a certificate of naturalisation, to prove their Right to Rent.

Until last week, a landlord that contravened this law would face a … Read more

A tax on both your (privately rented) houses

Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.

However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.

1. Raise the Roof

The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.

This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more

Guest Blog- Kate Faulkner

Property expert Kate Faulkner has written this guest blog on the unsatisfactory state of today’s housing market. Like Shelter, Kate believes that it is time for politicians of all stripes to take bold action to deliver the new homes our country desperately needs, and to effectively regulate a private rented sector that is now home to 9 million people.

To solve the housing battle, we need the same determination our Veterans had

With the recent D-Day celebrations, I’m reminded of … Read more

Good landlords

Shelter is occasionally labelled as ‘anti-landlord’, this is absolutely not the case. We’re anti-rogue landlords, certainly. And yes, we campaign vigorously on private renting.

Private rented housing makes up a disproportionate share of the problems Shelter’s advisers deal with every day; our work gives us direct experience of the problems faced by people who rent privately. All too often our advisers witness shocking behaviour that can make renters’ lives a misery, which is why we focus on the elements that Read more

Common sense, common purpose

Regular readers of this blog will know how much we care about tackling retaliatory eviction. As we’re once again focusing on our ‘9 million renters campaign’ I thought it would be helpful for me to explain in more detail why reforming Section 21 eviction notices makes so much sense- and why the Government should take decisive action now.

1) The reforms Shelter- and many others- have proposed are good for renters and landlords.

We are calling for … Read more

Guest Blog- Paul Shamplina, Landlord Action

At Shelter, we do all we can to stand up for renters’ rights. But we know that landlords also face their fair share of problems. Ultimately we want to see a private rental market that works for both landlords and renters.

That’s why, at the beginning of the year Shelter went to visit Landlord Action, a landlord advice and solicitor firm. We wanted to understand more about the problems landlords faced. During this visit we found that there was a … Read more

Helping renters doesn’t have to mean harming landlords

You often hear people suggest the way to fix the problems with private renting is for renters to simply complain or shop around. But this presumes that renters can easily do either. Unfortunately whilst renters should feel able to complain many are fearful of doing so. Our research has found that 1 in 12 renters avoided asking their landlord to carry out improvements or repairs in the last year, because they were scared of eviction. And arguments telling renters to … Read more

The Immigration Bill- bad for renters and bad for landlords

The Immigration Bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords. The Bill instructs private landlords to check renters’ immigration status. At Shelter, we are all for a more regulated private rented sector but this measure will make an already difficult, expensive, and over-heated rental market even worse for people with few good options open to them.

We know that the private rented sector is already under immense pressure: more people are renting and more renters are … Read more

The tenants’ trap

Following the actions of Fergus and Judith Wilson hundreds of private renters have been served legal eviction notices– simply for receiving some housing benefit. According to the most recent National Landlords Association survey just one in five landlords let to people on benefits.

Those in desperate need may turn to their council for homelessness assistance. All local authorities in England have a legal duty to assist people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness. As the loss of Read more