Government crackdown on rogue landlords

On Monday, the government announced that they will use the Housing Bill to crack down on rogue landlords. They published a raft of new, tough measures.

Disappointingly, this was wrapped up with some pretty objectionable plans to ‘make Britain an even harder place for illegal migrants’. We have already spoken out against these plans – and many others have warned that they will lead to discrimination and homelessness.

This angle was particularly frustrating, as buried underneath the angry rhetoric … 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

37 days to win the election; 100 days to make it count

Yesterday, the General Election 2015 officially launched.

Over the next 37 days we can expect plenty of bold statements, lots of partisan accusations and endless footage of battle buses and rolled-up sleeves. The fight to win over the UK’s 42 million voters is well and truly on.

If politicians are clever, they’ll talk about fixing our housing crisis. Voters in the marginal seats – those key seats that will decide the outcome of the general election – are more likely … Read more

A year to change the law

Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister gave a speech about housing. You may have noticed that Shelter had a lot of opinions about that speech…

But amidst the detail on Starter Homes, David Cameron proudly announced that his government are putting an end to revenge eviction:

“What’s more, we are outlawing ‘retaliatory evictions’, so tenants don’t face the prospect of losing their home simply for asking that repairs be made.”

And today, they did just that. The Deregulation BillRead more

Are the government about to make it even harder to introduce selective licensing?

An article in last night’s Evening Standard and a draft Statutory Instrument (SI) published last week detail major changes to selective licensing. Licensing is a key tool that councils can use to improve their local private rented sector.

This has happened very suddenly. And with just three weeks left until the end of the Parliament, it will progress at lightning speed.

With this in mind, I have done my best to unpick what we know.

The good

The government are … Read more

The politics of rent control

A debate is taking place about whether we should control – or cap – private rents in London.

With the 2016 Mayoral Election edging closer, this debate is heating up. Anyone throwing their hat into the ring is taking a view.

Shelter are currently looking at the technical implications of capping or controlling rents. But we also need to understand the political implications of this very public debate.

It is little wonder that renting dominates our capital’s discourse. The … Read more

An end to revenge eviction is back on the table

UPDATE: on 11th February , the House of Lords voted to formally adopt these measures. Although the Deregulation Bill still has one more stage in the House of Lords – and must pass through the time hurdle outlined below – an end to revenge eviction is now official government policy. The Bill will be debated as a whole on 4th March before racing back to the House of Commons to secure royal assent ahead of 30th March.  As always, … Read more

Remember when we said this wasn't over?

Following a disappointing Friday, the fight to end revenge eviction is well and truly back on.

A lifeline has appeared in the most unlikely of guises – the Deregulation Bill. This government bill aims to ‘[free] UK businesses from red tape and [make] life easier for ordinary Britons’.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the bill that will make life an awful lot easier for England’s 9 million renters – and the 213,000 of them who Read more

9 million renters. One missed opportunity.

Today, the Tenancies (Reform) Bill failed to progress because Philip Davies and Christopher Chope chose to filibuster it. Every other MP that spoke in the debate wholeheartedly supported the bill – including the government minister. Yet these MPs forced the bill to run out of time.

Private members bills can only be debated on certain days, at certain times. Each year a select number of Fridays are dedicated to private members bills. Backbench MPs can debate their bills from 9.30am … Read more

Tackling revenge eviction is a political ‘no-brainer’

To borrow a phrase from Kevin Bacon, the government’s decision to tackle revenge eviction is a ‘no-brainer’. Or, as one recent observer termed it ‘gold-dust’ policy. One of those rare polices that as well as being extremely popular, also makes a lot of sense and costs nothing.

9 million people now rent their home privately. This includes 1.3 million families with children.

These families increasingly accept that they’ll be renting for the long term – but this … Read more

Guest blog - Andrew Smith MP and Nicola Blackwood MP

On Friday 28th November MPs will debate Sarah Teather’s Bill to end retaliatory eviction. Here, two MPs who supported this Bill from the beginning explain what it means to them – and why they were willing to cross party divides to bring it to life.

Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East and Nicola Blackwood, Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

In July, we both pledged our support for Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill. This Bill aims to protect … Read more