Rewarding rogues?

This afternoon Shelter and Crisis are launching Sustain: a longitudinal qualitative research study of people’s wellbeing and outcomes in private rented sector housing. The study spent 19 months tracking the experiences and wellbeing of 128 people who had been rehoused in the private rented sector following a period of homelessness. It found that these people are frequently living in shocking conditions:

Every home had a condition problem. The majority of people had to deal with problem landlords. Some people… 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

Rachel- why campaigning matters

On Saturday afternoon I treated myself to a leg wax. Probably too much information for a policy blog but it provides context, I promise.

My beauty therapist was called Rachel,* and we had a chance to chat during the appointment.

Rachel is the reason that Shelter campaigns to fix private renting. Let me explain.

Rachel is moving house this weekend- she had been asked to leave her flat by her landlord. She was midway through a 12 month fixed … 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

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

Action for renters?

I like the idea of people power – people on their own or coming together to resolve issues in the market. It’s something we hear a lot of at Shelter – we get sent lots of suggestions to help tenants make educated choices, such as tenant training and tripadvisor-style websites.

But until recently, examples of real hands-on private renters campaigning were few and far between, save for the likes of longstanding groups in Brent, Camden, Scarborough and BlackpoolRead more

Victorian housing enjoys a renaissance

There’s a lot of neo-Victorianism around housing at the moment. It’s not just the Dickens bicentenary – although that has encouraged just about everyone to lever cheap literary references into the most improbable places.

The latest Survey of English Housing confirms that housing is trending towards the Victorian situation of more private renting and less homeownership. More and more families are now raising children in privately rented homes – something which almost died out in the late twentieth century. … Read more