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

Keeping tabs on housing

I’ve whinged far too often about the fact that housing never seems to get the political attention it deserves. This is partly to do with the way housing shows up in polls – as Ipsos MORI’s Ben Page spelled out here recently. Although every MP’s post bag is full of their constituents’ housing problems, these problems are experienced by each family as theirs alone – and are treated accordingly by politicians.

But politics seems to be finally waking up … Read more

Exporting homelessness

This morning was one of those moments when policy wonks start jumping up and down and shouting at the radio. This tends to happen when an issue we’ve been trying desperately to get some publicity for suddenly hits the news – usually because the bad thing we’ve been warning would happen, has happened.

It’s very frustrating to be told that a story is not news until the disaster has actually occurred. Astronomers take note – the media won’t be interested … Read more

New ideas to fix London's housing

Much celebration here at Shelter HQ, as both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have now backed our Mayoral election campaign and pledged to create Homes for London.

As the race enters its last week it is clearly a Ken-Boris contest, so it’s easy to ignore the other candidates, which is a shame, as they have done a lot to finally get housing onto the agenda. Both the Greens’ Jenny Jones and the Lib Dems’ Brian Paddick have backed Homes … Read more

Will the NPPF deliver on affordable housing?

Today the Government finally published the detail of its new National Planning Policy Framework. It is a welcome recognition by the government that we need more homes, and building more homes is good for the economy.

During the messy row over the draft version, Shelter called for the framework to bring about the delivery of homes in the right places, of the right type and at the right price to alleviate housing need. So will it deliver genuinely affordable … Read more

A simpler benefits system – unless you're a social tenant

One of the Welfare Reform Act’s intentions, and one Shelter was happy to support, was a pledge to simplify the benefits system. In light of this it is surprising that one particular measure was allowed to survive the bill unscathed, despite being overturned twice by the Lords.

The Act will cut housing benefit for council and housing association tenants if they are judged to be occupying a larger property than they need. The definition of this is incredibly strict … Read more