Are we facing an evictions crisis?

Imagine knowing that you are going to lose your home but not knowing when the bailiffs will come knocking.

One look at this harrowing video of Angela being evicted by bailiffs tells you that there’s nothing easy about being evicted. But knowing when the bailiff will turn up is better than having no idea when they will show, and sitting there just waiting. Knowing when you will be evicted could give you time to get someone to look after … Read more

2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

Too often, renting is unsafe. Our Fix Renting campaign , launched in January, focuses on three ways to make renting safer:

Landlords to be legally responsible for doing electrical safety checks Letting agents made to better protect renters’ money All rented homes to be genuinely ‘fit for human habitation’

And thanks to the work of Shelter and our amazing supporters, the first two of them should now become law, along with strong measures tackling rogue landlords!

Changes to the law … Read more

A crucial step towards a secure future for Scotland’s private renters

What can you do in a decade? Ask Shelter Scotland. For 10 years, they have campaigned to reform the private rented sector and last week, their hard work truly paid off. From 2017, tenants in the private rented sector will enjoy a secure home of their own. James Battye from Shelter Scotland explains just what happened – its inspiring stuff!

James Battye, Policy Officer, Shelter Scotland

Last week the Scottish Parliament passed landmark legislation to boost the legal rights that … Read more

Haringey aren’t the only ones struggling to find cheap properties in the capital

Unsurprisingly, Haringey are struggling to attract landlords to their new social letting agency scheme.

Because councils are restricted to finding properties which are affordable to tenants on low incomes, their challenge is reaching out to landlords who let out their properties well below average rent.

I’m not sure landlords letting out properties at the bottom end of the market always want to be visible to the state. A third sector organisation matching landlords with tenants recently confirmed to me that … Read more

Let's move to...a disused basement in a central location?

It’s a curiously modern phenomena – property guardians around the country are paying rent to live in squat like conditions.

The birthplace of ‘property guardianships’ is illegal squatting in empty properties (supposedly Camelot, one of the biggest property guardian operators, is the brainchild of a squatter). But in the current reincarnation, guardians pay rent for the privilege of ‘guarding’ the property whilst it’s empty, which helps to keep out squatters and protects against theft. I’ve seen disused warehouses, care homes, … Read more

Are letting agents helping to lock renters out?

Low income renters are in a precarious position. The help they get to pay the rent is shrivelling, whilst rents are blossoming. Its little surprise that half of private renters say they are already struggling or falling behind with their rent. Amidst this uncertainty, letting agents have become a formidable gatekeeper of the private rented sector. They’re helping to lock renters out of renting by making it difficult for them to find a home in the first place – and … Read more

'I don’t want to live like this'

Today’s announcement of new government funding for councils to tackle rogue landlords is very welcome – not only will it help drive up standards but it also shows once more why rogue landlords need cracking down on in the first place.

You can’t fail to be moved by Tracy’s story. She has leukaemia and is currently living in a flat riddled with mould. Her bed is now so sodden with damp so she has to sleep on a sofa in … Read more

Who’s better protected, dogs or renters?

When a landlord tries to get a licence so they can rent their home out, they have to confirm that no one will die from a preventable gas leak. On that basis, you might think licencing is a necessary safeguard for all 1.5 million renters in London. Not so. Government policy says anyone running a dog kennel needs a licence – but not necessarily anyone renting a home to a family.

When 1 in 6 private renters in England live Read more

Things are in a better condition all round

Last time I wrote about the Housing and Planning Bill its measures were looking good for private renters. Since then, the Bill has passed through committee stage in the Commons and the government has confirmed that they want to crackdown on rogue landlords and will consider further reforms. I’m now positively optimistic that the Bill will improve things for renters.

When we wrote our Safe and Decent Homes report last year it was clear that a sea-change was required to … Read more

Housing benefit is clearly essential

Until the housing crisis is cracked and the government take real steps to build more homes that people can afford, housing benefit is the most important mechanism we have to stop people becoming homeless.

Given how much airtime housing benefit gets in the press, you’d think most people understand what it is, who gets it and why. But unless they have direct experience of receiving it, most people don’t quite understand how housing benefit works. So we’ll explain it.

Fundamentally, Read more

The Housing Bill: towards better conditions for renters

There’s nothing more annoying than buying a dress, paying through the roof, only for the stitching to unravel the next day. Ok, there are probably many more annoying things, but if I wasn’t able to exercise my consumer rights and get my money back, I’d be peeved.

Try being a renter. Our latest research reveals the stomach-churning conditions renters have to live in – made worse by the fact that they’re often paying sky-high rents and have little chance of … Read more

Sure, we changed the law on revenge evictions. But what does that mean?

The law on revenge evictions has changed. It’s an important step towards strengthening renters’ rights – and it’s been quite a journey. Put it this way, there’s now 11 million of you out there, and there were only 9 million when we started.

The law is designed to protect private renters from being evicted for making a complaint about poor conditions – and it’s a great start – but it won’t protect everyone. If you are one of England’s 11 … Read more