What will take longer, banning letting agent fees or Brexit?

The ban on letting agent fees is now unlikely to come into force until Spring 2019 at the earliest. This is according to the latest update from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Spring 2019 will be nearly two and a half years since the government announced its intention to ban fees. This also, somewhat surprisingly, means it will have taken longer to design and implement the ban on letting agent fees, than for the government to negotiate … Read more

Alok Sharma: Our man in DWP?

When Alok Sharma accepted the job of housing minister in the summer, he liked to joke that the average life cycle of a housing minister was about ten months.

Last week he was shuffled out of the role without quite reaching that modest milestone, to be replaced with Dominic Raab.

There’s a debate to be had about whether the constant reshuffling of housing ministers is consistent with a government commitment to address the housing crisis. Although it’s worth noting that … Read more

Fitness for Human Habitation: Government support for new rights for renters

The government announced its support for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, which has its crucial second reading in the House of Commons on 19 January. It is very exciting that the government is putting its weight behind the new measures. They’ll help help to ensure that all rented homes in England are safe, and give tenants the right to take legal action against landlords who fail to fulfil their duties.

Cross-party support Read more
Fitness for Human Habitation: The countdown begins…

Today, Parliament published the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standard) Bill ahead of its Second Reading next week. The countdown has officially begun. This time next week, we will know whether the Bill has progressed to the next stage or not.

For the Bill to pass, it’s crucial that 100 MPs attend the debate next Friday. If they don’t, just one MP could block the Bill. This happened to a previous version of the ‘Fitness’ Bill … Read more

A fork in the road: the Letwin review

In the pantheon of sexy retail offers, the promise of an internal government review does not, you might argue, necessarily set the pulse racing. So when a review of land banking was announced in the Autumn Budget, it wasn’t rewarded with huge media attention. Some world-weary cynics (not me, you understand) even wondered if it was just a way to kick the issue into the long grass.

But there’s every reason to pay attention to the review (which will … Read more

Does campaigning actually work? What we achieved in 2017

Campaigning to bring safe, secure and affordable homes to all isn’t an easy mission. However, with your support last year we took some massive steps to getting there. Not only for the thousands we help on a day-to-day basis across the country through our advice and service provision, but also for the millions who stand to benefit from some of our campaigning achievements last year.

Here’s a shortlist of our campaigning highlights from 2017.

Building more homes

Throughout the year … Read more

The draft bill banning letting fees is under scrutiny
The draft bill banning letting fees is under scrutiny

The government’s draft bill banning letting fees is currently being scrutinised by the Communities and Local Government Committee. We have submitted evidence to the committee, which together with evidence from other organisations, will help inform the committee’s recommendations about what the final version of the bill should look like.

Here is a summary of our main recommendations to the committee about the different proposals in the Bill.

The ban on upfront fees

Shelter is very supportive of the ban … Read more

Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis
Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis

Rebecca is a mum to three children, including a baby with type 1 diabetes. To prevent her baby from becoming seriously ill, she needs to monitor his blood sugar levels throughout the day and night and provide him with a carefully controlled diet.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, Rebecca was facing homelessness when her landlord decided to evict her and her family.

A new report from the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) describes how Rebecca was badly let down by her … Read more

Newham’s selective licensing scheme renewed - except for the Olympic Park

Late last week, we learnt that the Government has decided that Newham can renew its selective licensing scheme across almost all of the borough, for another five years.

Five months after the council first submitted its application, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has given Newham permission to renew its scheme, except for the E20 postcode – the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park site, not the fictional Albert Square.

While the delay means that there will be a gap … Read more

How technology is changing the way Shelter tackles homelessness

At Shelter, our goal is to help people deal with bad housing and homelessness. We help people stay in the home they’ve got or, if they have lost their tenancy, to find a new one. And we want to ensure that people are living in safe and secure homes, so we help them understand their rights to improve poor conditions and, if necessary, challenge rogue landlords.

We do this through a combination of a free national helpline, digital advice, face-to-face … Read more

Is the Stamp Duty cut worth it?

In amongst the jokes and the political padding, Wednesday’s Autumn Budget aimed to deliver policy ideas to address the housing crisis. The top billing for housing this time certainly underlined the fact that this government wanted to show it’s a priority.

There were some positive announcements too. Some good news on Universal Credit payments, and an increase in the Targeted Assistance Funding for areas where Housing Benefits fail to cover the shortfalls in private rents (all at a cumulative cost … Read more