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

You won't believe this totally mind-blowing method of reducing your letting agent fees!

Letting agent fees are one of the most painful aspects of renting. Every time you move, whether into or out of a home, you’re hit with a ludicrous list of fees. And they don’t come cheap either.

One of the most ridiculous, is the dreaded administration fee for changing the name on a tenancy agreement when people move out of a shared rental property. This can cost anything up to £300.

Driven to despair, I’ve developed an ingenious, fool-proof method … Read more

Seven ridiculous London rents that show why we need to fix renting
Seven ridiculous London rents that show why we need to fix renting

Struggling to find a reasonable place to rent in London? You’re not the only one. London renting is broken. For too many of us it is unaffordable, unstable and unsafe.

One in four people living in London are private renters – I’m one of them – and we deserve a better deal. Some renters have already reached breaking point, and decided they’ve no option but to leave London. Yet for many of us that simply isn’t an option. Instead … Read more

Government crackdown on rogue landlords

On Monday, the government announced that they will use the Housing Bill to crack down on rogue landlords. They published a raft of new, tough measures.

Disappointingly, this was wrapped up with some pretty objectionable plans to ‘make Britain an even harder place for illegal migrants’. We have already spoken out against these plans – and many others have warned that they will lead to discrimination and homelessness.

This angle was particularly frustrating, as buried underneath the angry rhetoric … 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

A rent cap in name only

This blog was originally published as part of #BeyondtheBallot the Huffington Post UK’s alternative take on the UK General Election 2015. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

A year ago to the day, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour Government will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. After calling for stable renting since 2012, Shelter welcomed this turning point.

On Sunday, this was repackaged a ‘cap on rents’.

Cue hysteria. … Read more

Does business have a responsibility to support its employees with housing?

This blog was originally published as part of the The Great Business Debate. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

The days of employers building houses for their workforce are long gone. Purpose built developments, such as George Cadbury’s Bourneville, are consigned to the past. But today, employees need support from their employers with housing more than ever.

We are in the midst of a housing crisis. The repeated failure of governments to build … Read more

37 days to win the election; 100 days to make it count

Yesterday, the General Election 2015 officially launched.

Over the next 37 days we can expect plenty of bold statements, lots of partisan accusations and endless footage of battle buses and rolled-up sleeves. The fight to win over the UK’s 42 million voters is well and truly on.

If politicians are clever, they’ll talk about fixing our housing crisis. Voters in the marginal seats – those key seats that will decide the outcome of the general election – are more likely … Read more

A year to change the law

Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister gave a speech about housing. You may have noticed that Shelter had a lot of opinions about that speech…

But amidst the detail on Starter Homes, David Cameron proudly announced that his government are putting an end to revenge eviction:

“What’s more, we are outlawing ‘retaliatory evictions’, so tenants don’t face the prospect of losing their home simply for asking that repairs be made.”

And today, they did just that. The Deregulation BillRead more

The politics of rent control

A debate is taking place about whether we should control – or cap – private rents in London.

With the 2016 Mayoral Election edging closer, this debate is heating up. Anyone throwing their hat into the ring is taking a view.

Shelter are currently looking at the technical implications of capping or controlling rents. But we also need to understand the political implications of this very public debate.

It is little wonder that renting dominates our capital’s discourse. The … Read more

A small step for parliament, a big leap for renters

This afternoon, the government gave their backing to Sarah Teather’s bill to end retaliatory eviction in the private rented sector. This is a huge step forward for private renters.

We know that over 200,000 renters across England were evicted or served with an eviction notice in the last year, simply because they complained about a problem in their home.

No one should face eviction for complaining about bad conditions. The government’s – and ultimately Parliament’s – support for Sarah’s Bill … Read more

Tenancies (Reform) Bill

Today, Department for Communities and Local Government Minister Stephen Williams announced that – in principle – the government will support Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill. The Bill seeks to give renters security of tenure by ending retaliatory eviction. It also hopes to improve conditions in the private rented sector and make the eviction process better for renters, landlords and the courts.

Although the Bill is still being drafted, we thought this would be a good opportunity to outline what … Read more