Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing
Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing

In early March, we saw the first meeting of the commissioners who will be steering our Big Conversation looking at the future of social housing.

We’ve promised the commissioners that we’ll keep the content of their meetings confidential, so that they have the space to debate and deliberate. But suffice to say we were really pleased with the enthusiasm in the room.

We’ve deliberately drawn our commissioners from a broad range of political persuasions and backgrounds, but they all stressed … Read more

Facing up to defeat: why was social housing an easy target?

Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.

I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more

Fixed term tenancies failing on everyone’s terms

The government’s plan to remove security from social tenants and restrict tenancies to 2-5 years will hopefully get the scrutiny it deserves this week. Peers are set to debate the controversial new clauses as the housing and planning bill winds its way through committee.

Shelter is concerned that constantly churning people through social housing will be hugely destabilising to families and communities. But new research also suggests that the reform will fail even on its own terms of ‘making best 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

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

Crisis in the Capital

In January, the Evening Standard reported a recent poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI for London Councils, which revealed that four in five Londoners (82 per cent) agree there is a “housing crisis in London”.

It is little wonder when you consider the state of our capital’s housing.

London is unaffordable

House prices in the capital are 18.1 per cent higher than their pre-recession peak in January 2008. The average home was valued at £441,000 in November 2013, 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
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

Social housing: foundation or springboard?

Today, Shelter is publishing information and evidence to assist local councils as they begin to compile their ‘Tenancy Strategies’ in the run up to the January 2013 deadline.

These strategies, required by the Localism Act 2011, need to set out how councils intend to respond to housing need, and specifically how they would like new social tenancies, such as those offered by housing associations, to operate in their area

Back in February, I spent an inspiring day with the … Read more

Is it better to invest in bricks or benefits?

The Housing Minister recently tweeted that the housing benefit debate is “misinformed” by claims the budget is being cut, when spending is in fact forecast to resume its upward trend after next year’s cuts have bitten.

This may be a deeply disingenuous argument – the Minister knows full well that the amounts paid out to individual households are falling – but it does highlight an important point: despite a £2 billion package of cuts the overall housing benefit budget will … Read more