3 breakthroughs to help renters on benefits
3 breakthroughs to help renters on benefits

Prejudice against people on housing benefit is leaving renters with nowhere to turn. But thanks to your fantastic support, we’ve taken three big steps forward. 

People who rent in the UK often face unfair discrimination if they’re on benefits, which prevents hundreds of thousands of people living in homes they could otherwise afford, pushing them closer to homelessness. There’s no excuse for this, and even the most plausible defences of ‘No DSS’ are bogus.  

That’s why, in August 2018, we began our campaign to stop DSS discrimination. Here’s what we’ve achieved … Read more

From sleeping on the streets to pounding them for Shelter
From sleeping on the streets to pounding them for Shelter

Taxi driver Barry is a former rough sleeper. He tells us why he’s running the London Marathon for Shelter

Today, I look back at how impossible I was, when really I was a scared and frightened little boy.

I’d spent my teenage years in an out of children’s homes, foster care and supported living. At 16, I was placed into a bedsit with lots of support, but I let myself down by not accepting any help.

At 17 when I … Read more

Unsafe cladding: we’ve made progress, but our campaign isn’t over
Unsafe cladding: we’ve made progress, but our campaign isn’t over
Our campaign 

One year on after Grenfell, only 4% of the 158 social housing tower blocks with the same cladding have had it removed and replaced. In March 2018, we launched our campaign urging the government to step up and make sure these homes are safe. We asked the government to do three things:

provide essential emergency funding to cover the costs of removing and replacing unsafe cladding for social landlords provide guidance on which materials are safe to use… Read more
The rent control you’ve never heard of (part 2)
The rent control you’ve never heard of (part 2)

Yesterday, we explored the fact that rent control already exists for assured and assured shorthold tenants i.e. those paying market rent. In this blog, we will discuss three potential reasons why this kind of rent control is under-used and little-known.

Market rents too high

Assured shorthold tenants are able to challenge their rent in a first tier tribunal if they think it is excessive. But ‘excessive’ is defined as significantly higher than the landlord might reasonably expect to receiveRead more

The rent control you’ve never heard of (part 1)

Renting in the private rented sector? Think your rent is too high? You might be one of the 60% of Britain in favour of introducing rent controls. However, you might be surprised to know that rent controls already exist in England.

No, these are not the often-discussed historic ‘fair rent’ properties, the volume of which has dwindled to very small part of the market. Under ‘regulated’ tenancies, tenants are entitled to a ‘fair rent’ set by the Valuation Office Agency, … Read more

Homes for NHS workers... Possibly? Maybe? Perhaps?

Last year, the Department for Health commissioned Sir Robert Naylor to produce an independent report into NHS property – including how to make best use of its land. The resulting report flew under the radar of all but the most diligent, but it contained some incredibly interesting insights into what could happen to NHS land.

On 30 January, the government accepted the majority of Naylor’s recommendations. This includes utilising surplus NHS land to make a financial contribution to estate improvement. … Read more

Local viability policy part 2: What should councils be doing about the viability loophole?

Part one of this blog looked at the councils getting tough on viability assessments. Faced with acute shortages of affordable housing, councils like Bristol City are pulling out all the stops to strengthen their position in Section 106 negotiations with developers. But the development of local policy to limit the damage being done by viability assessments is still in its early stages. Urban councils in areas of high housing demand in the south of England have been much more likely … Read more

Local viability policy part 1: ‘We are pushing the system as hard as we can, but it’s a rigged system.’

Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.


Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers have … Read more

The English Housing Survey

Today saw the release of the English Housing Survey (EHS) – the most important source we have for understanding the housing crisis. This government survey collects details on the quality and conditions of the homes households live in. This includes the cost and affordability of those homes.

As the survey has been running for 50 years (in various forms), it’s an invaluable record of how the situation of English households has changed over time.

Home ownership down

An Englishman’s home … Read more

Shelter’s Big Conversation on the future of social housing

The Grenfell fire not only left an indelible mark on the community of North Kensington, but also sent shockwaves through the rest of the country. It’s notable that the fire quickly became viewed not just as a terrible, avoidable tragedy, but also indicative of broader concerns about inequality and poor housing.

The public debate after the fire quickly centred on the allegation that residents’ concerns had been ignored. This led to the suspicion that people living in social housing were … Read more

Cross-party support sees Fitness Bill safely through second reading

On Friday 19 January, MPs debated the second reading of the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill. The bill passed unanimously after a positive and constructive debate, which saw MPs from all the major parties speak in support of it. We’ve been campaigning hard to get to this point, so were delighted to see the bill clear this important hurdle.

The debate covered some well-trodden ground. MPs took turns to share stories of constituents living in shockingly poor and unsafe accommodation. … Read more

Inching towards better land value sharing

These are exciting times for the select-but-growing band of Westminster-watchers interested in the role land value plays in our housing crisis – and in the wider economy.

Just before Christmas, there was the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, chaired by Sir Vince Cable. Then the Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee launched an inquiry into the ‘effectiveness of current land value capture methods’. This sort of language may not set pulses … Read more