No excuse for no DSS
No excuse for no DSS

Our campaign against ‘no DSS’ has split the lettings industry. Some agents have engaged positively with it and are taking meaningful steps to drive out old discriminatory practices by making sure they take into account every tenants’ full financial circumstances.

But some have just tried to defend old practices.

Many defences of no DSS are transparent prejudice. But a couple of arguments for ruling out tenants on housing benefit sound more plausible, like:

what if a landlord can’t afford to… Read more
Don’t just vilify Fergus Wilson. Use him to justify change
Don’t just vilify Fergus Wilson. Use him to justify change

Fergus Wilson clearly enjoys the attention that being a hate figure brings.

In the last five years, he’s gone out of his way looking for publicity for his mass evictions and controversial – sometimes unlawful – lettings policies.

But in the wake of a new round of newspaper reports on his decision to evict 90 of his tenants, including nine families with children under ten, it should be clear that vilifying him isn’t enough.

Treating him like a panto … Read more

Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters
Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters

In the coming months, the government is due to report the results of its consultation on longer private tenancies. It will be our first chance to see whether the government will stick to its guns and change the law, so that all private renters get a longer tenancy and genuine security from no-fault ‘Section 21’ evictions.

In this post we’ll consider what will happen if the government loses its nerve by opting for a non-legislative, voluntary approach. If it … Read more

The ‘Chance to Buy’ would provide little chance of a longer tenancy
The ‘Chance to Buy’ would provide little chance of a longer tenancy

Our friends at Onward have published a new proposal for how to help struggling private renters. The ‘Chance to Buy’, harks back to the Right to Buy in name as well as design. By offering a way for tenants to buy their existing home, it attempts to appeal to private tenants today in just the way Right to Buy has done for many social tenants since its introduction in 1981.

Without more analysis, it’s hard for us to comment on … Read more

Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system
Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system

The government is consulting on introducing longer tenancies for private renters. Great news! But despite an announcement that the Secretary of State backs changing the law, there’s still a question about whether the government will follow through. New tax incentives and ‘better education’ are still officially under consideration alongside legal change.

It’s clear to us that anything less than legal change to give all private tenants more security by default isn’t meaningful change at all.

In this … Read more

Grey renting: the rising tide of older private tenants
Grey renting: the rising tide of older private tenants

The number of private renters has skyrocketed over the last 20 years. In total it’s more than doubled, from just over 2 million private renting households in 1996/97 to almost 4.7 million in 2016/17.

This growth hasn’t been uniform across the age groups, though. It’s been much slower amongst older renters, with households headed by someone aged 65+ growing by only 40% compared to 144% amongst younger households.

However, new statistics from the most recent edition of the government’s English Read more

What does the government’s longer tenancies announcement mean? (part 2)
What does the government’s longer tenancies announcement mean? (part 2)

The government has announced plans to give private renters longer tenancies. Great news! But as ever, the devil is in the detail.

This is the second of two posts picking through the minutiae of the proposal being consulted on, and looks at how the government plans to implement the changes.

The first part looked at what the government’s new model for renting would be, and found that while it’s a great step forward, there is more work to do.… Read more

What does the government’s longer tenancies announcement mean? (part 1)
What does the government’s longer tenancies announcement mean? (part 1)

After news coverage suggesting the government plans to introduce longer tenancies in the private rented sector, the consultation has come out with full details.

For years, we have been campaigning to increase the protection private tenants have from no-fault eviction. With more households becoming homeless after being evicted from a privately rented home than for any other reason, new safeguards are long overdue. So, with legal change on the cards, this is a major step in the right direction.

As … Read more

Should safe cladding come at the expense of new affordable homes?
Should safe cladding come at the expense of new affordable homes?

The government has been criticised for deciding to pay for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding on social housing tower blocks by dipping into the budget for new social house building.

We have previously praised the government for stepping forward to fund this vital work to remove unsafe cladding. Alongside indications it will ban combustible cladding entirely, this will go a long way to tackling some of the construction failings that have been blamed for the tragedy at Grenfell.… Read more

Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles
Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles

It has been a momentous week for everyone campaigning for improvements to building safety, following the Grenfell Tower fire.

By promising to ‘fully fund’ the removal and replacement of unsafe, Grenfell-style cladding – and suggesting it’s minded to ban combustible cladding systems – the government is set to fulfil two of our key campaigning asks. We look back at what exactly the government has committed to and why it’s so important.

Money to remove and replace cladding

Our campaign asked Read more

What is a ‘desktop study’ and should they be banned?
What is a ‘desktop study’ and should they be banned?

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the practice of using ‘desktop studies’ to sign-off cladding systems as fire safe has been the subject of significant controversy.

Despite the official review of building regulations calling for ‘significant restrictions’ on desktop studies and others calling for an absolute ban, the government has recently published proposals that could see them used more.

What is a desktop study?

Although building regulations have a reputation for being complex, some background is necessary to understand where … Read more

More than 10% of homes in Kensington and Chelsea are empty ‘most of the time’

Yesterday’s reveal in the Guardian of the big names who own empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea (K&C) is just the latest example of renewed interest in the subject since the Grenfell Fire.

However, looking at the official stats, you might be tempted to wonder whether the problem has been just a little overstated.

While any empty property in the capital is hugely frustrating – given London’s homelessness crisis and the delays in rehousing Grenfell survivors – the official stats Read more