Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today
Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today

From today, councils must change the way they help homeless people, as the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force.

The new legislation is certainly needed. Homelessness in England has reached crisis point, as the tragic reports of people dying on our streets during the recent cold weather have brought into sharp focus.

Few of us can say we haven’t noticed an increase in men and women bedding down. Street homelessness has more than doubled in five years: last autumn over … Read more

Sponsoring the London Homelessness Awards 2016

We’re delighted to say that this year, we’re joining Crisis, the London Housing Directors and the London Housing Federation in sponsoring the London Homelessness Awards. Regarded as the UK’s leading homelessness awards, they highlight and celebrate innovation within the sector.

Everyone from registered social landlords, agency partnerships and public sector health organisations to housing and social services departments, and voluntary sector organisations are encouraged to enter.… 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

London’s forgotten homeless

Question:

How have we got into a situation in London where being homeless could mean: 

a)      Living in insecure temporary accommodation for up to 23 years 

b)      Living in temporary accommodation up to 200 miles away 

c)       Subject to the benefit cap with a £100 per week shortfall, putting you at risk of arrears and eviction?

 

Answer: 

A heady combination of a housing shortage, inadequate government support with housing costs, some private landlords taking advantage of desperate councils, and the 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

Bad housing

Nearly fifteen million people in England are living in bad housing – that’s three people in ten.  This figure – revealed in a recent Shelter report prepared by NatCen – is made up of 3.6 million children, 9.2 million working age adults and 2 million pensioners.

By bad housing we mean homes that are overcrowded, or fail to meet the government’s ‘Decent Homes Standard’. The basic requirements of the standard are that homes must:

not pose a risk to the… Read more
Rogue landlords: Another step forward

On Wednesday, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles formally responded to the CLG Committee’s report on the private rented sector. Before addressing the recommendations Mr Pickles noted that:

“The private rented market… is an important option for the millions of people who prefer the flexibility that renting offers, or who are simply saving up for a deposit so they can buy a place of their own.”

It is precisely because this is not the case … Read more

Guest blog: Local authorities should be given the freedom to raise housing standards

Poor conditions are putting renters at risk. Nearly one million renters have had their health affected by their landlord failing to make repairs or deal with poor conditions such as mould, damp, or electrical hazards.

At the same time, the number of families relying on the private rented sector has risen sharply. In the last 10 years the proportion of families with children renting has grown by 69 per cent. Understanding how we can improve conditions in the sector is … Read more

Government acknowledges size matters

The Government today published its proposals to review the housing standards in the hope that this will ‘free up the building industry, support growth and get high quality homes built’.  Over 100 standards currently available to local councils, such as Lifetime Homes, face abolition.

For the handful of housing standards that will be kept, councils will only be able to apply them after conducting ‘a rigorous viability and need assessment’.  While this will undoubtedly cut red tape, it’s … Read more

Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built
Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built

Polling shows that most people agree there is a housing crisis. But nearly half don’t believe that new homes are needed in their local area. When opposition blocks local development, this limits the numbers of homes available for young people and families starting out, and holds back our economy.

New Shelter evidence reveals that the size of new homes is a major factor in local concerns about development. Nearly half (44%) of the public told us they were more likely … Read more

Action for healthy homes

Minimising the impact of bad housing is still a significant challenge for local authorities. Poor conditions can affect people’s mental health and wellbeing. They can also lead directly to illness and injury.

Last week I blogged about the impact rogue landlords are having on the health of renters. Nearly one million renters have had their health affected by their landlord failing to make repairs or deal with poor conditions such as mould, damp, or electrical hazards. Shelter has called … Read more

Tales from the front line: getting tough on rogue landlords

This won’t be the first time you’ve heard Shelter talking about rogue landlords. We’ve been calling on local authorities to take tough, visible enforcement action against these landlords for some time now. The good news is that more than 50 local authorities have already signed a statement of support, committing to do just that.

The bad news is that our new research, released today, shows that this unscrupulous minority are having a significant impact on the health of … Read more