Safe and decent homes

A third of private rented homes are classified by the government as non-decent; far higher than all other tenures. Shockingly, 6 in 10 renters told us that they had experienced a problem with damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestations and gas leaks in the last year alone.

Today we are publishing our report on what needs to be done to improve conditions and deliver safe and decent homes to England’s 9 million renters including the growing … Read more

Guest blog by Debbie Crew, author of ‘The Tenant’s Dilemma’

During her time working for the Crosby, Formby and District Citizens Advice Bureau, Debbie wrote the seminal report, ‘The Tenant’s Dilemma’, on the fear and incidence of retaliatory eviction. Based on the findings from surveys with frontline housing advisors, the report advocated stronger legal protections for renters who complain about poor conditions in their home. Debbie was subsequently awarded the Consumer Action Award by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation for her campaigning on this issue.

Renting in the private sector? Read more

Families facing eviction

Just when we’d almost forgotten about the infamous landlord Fergus Wilson, he’s back in the news today with another gloomy announcement for renters. And this time it’s families that are feeling the brunt. He is planning to evict all families with more than two children and anyone living in a three generational household.

Back in January, Wilson committed to evicting all his tenants on Housing Benefits, regardless of whether or not they were in arrears. He argued that it made … Read more

Guest blog- Nick Gracie-Langrick, Enforcement Officer, London Borough of Wandsworth

Environmental health teams are at the forefront of activities to prevent poor condition in private rented homes. They have first hand insight of the scale of poor conditions and the challenges renters face in getting repairs fixed. Nick Gracie-Langrick, Enforcement Officer from the London Borough of Wandsworth, has written this guest blog on how the Tenancies (Reform) Bill will help protect renters and improve conditions across the sector.

Supporting tenants who complain

Across the country one third of the 4.1million … Read more

Model behaviour for private renting

Yesterday the Government announced its intention to support Sarah Teather’s Bill to end retaliatory eviction. This is a huge step forward for private renters. It comes after a long period of campaigning from across the housing sector and Shelter’s supporters.  

But there was even more good news. The Housing Minister also launched a new model tenancy agreement and Industry Code of Practice for letting and managing privately rented homes. Both are voluntary measures, but mark an important step forward in … Read more

Renters need more protection than legal technicalities

Renters need more protection than legal technicalities

Two legal cases about private renting have gained a lot of attention recently in the housing press. Both concern the use of possession notices. But what are the implications for renters?

The first is Superstrike Limited vs. Rodrigues, a tenancy deposit case which came before the Court of Appeal last year.  Superstrike took a deposit before the tenancy deposit legislation came into effect in April 2007. When the 12 month fixed term contract … Read more

How open data could power change in the private rented sector

Nesta and ODI’s Housing Open Data Challenge invites teams to develop products and services using open data to help people get the best out of renting, whether they are in the private rented sector or in social housing. As part of this challenge, Shelter have blogged about the need for greater open data in the private rented sector.

Private renting is fast becoming the new normal. The sector is now home to more than 9 million people – up from … Read more

How many evictions?

Shelter is obviously concerned about people becoming homeless, so we watch the figures published by the courts that show the number of people being evicted and repossessed each month. Recently, we’ve been drawing attention to the fact that evictions by private landlords are growing fast, and have now over taken mortgage repossessions, despite there being far more mortgage holders than renters in the country.

But the latest Ministry of Justice possession stats also show that the total number of evictions … Read more

Private renters, a potential political force to be reckoned with

Polling from our friends at Generation Rent has shown that 35% of private renters are floating voters, who could cast their votes on the basis of housing manifestos. The research also identified 86 ‘private renter marginals’ where private renters have the power to sway the vote. In these constituencies the sitting MP has a majority of less than 35% of the expanding renter population.

Generation Rent conclude that, if either of the two main parties were to take all these … Read more

Are renters really that ‘satisfied’?

Last week when we launched our 9 million renters’ campaign, the Housing Minister said that he understood our concerns. But he also said that 83% of renters are satisfied with their accommodation and so, therefore, these problems can’t be that widespread.

The minister is not the first to quote this figure. I’m often confronted with the “83% of renters are satisfied” stat when I talk about the need to fix private renting. Clearly lots of people are keen to … Read more

Can't Complain

Private renters live in the worst conditions in the country. A third of private rented homes fail to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard – compared to only 15% in the social rented sector and 20% of owner occupied homes.

Our new research also shows that 61% of renters have experienced at least one of the following problems in the past 12 months: damp, mould, a leaking roof or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestation or gas leaks.

Despite these widespread … Read more

Real change needs real protections

Conditions in the private rented sector are worse than any other forms of housing. A third of homes fail to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard – a much higher proportion than social rented and owner occupied homes.  Almost one in five privately rented homes are also assessed as containing a Category 1 hazard, meaning they pose a serious danger to the health and safety of renters.

The stats speak for themselves. The urgent need to do something for the … Read more