Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects
Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects

Guest blog from Thomas Aubrey – Advisor, Centre for Progressive Policy

In his Budget, the chancellor announced plans for a simpler system of developer contributions, enabling local areas to capture a greater share of uplift in land values for infrastructure and social housing on large schemes. The supporting budget documentation is highly critical of the current system of developer contributions, saying it ‘is acting as a barrier to the delivery of housing’.[1]

Philip Hammond’s statement indicates that the current … Read more

What does the Budget mean for Universal Credit?
What does the Budget mean for Universal Credit?

So, there we have it. The final Budget before Brexit.

An interesting one. Or was it? Well, there were a few terrible jokes (mainly about toilets), and an interesting display of the most pantomime aspects of politics – boos, heckles, cheers, and jeers.

But what does it all mean for Universal Credit? Broadly speaking it means an acknowledgement of errors, more time, and a bit more money. This is still not even close to the money that was cut from … Read more

Renting in England: Paying more for less

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being ripped off? The answer is probably yes; everybody occasionally thinks they’ve overpaid or haven’t been getting their money’s worth. Hopefully, that’s a rare feeling for you. But if you’re a private renter, then there’s a good chance it’s all too familiar.

New analysis from Shelter shows that renters have every reason to feel this way. The average private renter is now paying over £1,600 more per year on housing than a … Read more

Challenging DSS discrimination at NatWest
Challenging DSS discrimination at NatWest

For the last two months we’ve been leading the fight against ‘DSS discrimination’, where renters receiving housing benefit are unfairly banned from renting homes they could afford. This prejudice isn’t just wrong – we also think it’s unlawful.

The campaign kicked off with the results of our joint investigation with the National Housing Federation into housing benefit bans in the lettings industry. This suggested that several leading letting agents are turning people on benefits away.

We’ve written to the Read more

Mariam’s Story
Mariam’s Story

Mariam, along with her two teenage sons and young daughter became homeless when severe domestic violence at the hands of Mariam’s husband left them in fear for their lives.  

Birmingham City Council placed the family in temporary accommodation, but her husband – who had been arrested for trying to kill Mariam and her daughter – found out where they were staying and sent his friends to threaten her. Mariam and her children were moved into emergency accommodation: a one-bedroom outhouse … Read more

Laura is now in her forever home
Laura is now in her forever home

Laura’s mouldy council flat was putting her son’s life in danger until Shelter’s Hospital Discharge Team took on the family’s case. 

Imagine wanting to take your much-loved child home from hospital but being unable to do so as the conditions there would make him ill – or even endanger his life. That’s the horrible catch-22 that Laura faced until our hospital discharge team in Birmingham stepped in to help.  

When we first met Laura, she was living in a damp … Read more

Taking action against a rogue landlord
Taking action against a rogue landlord

Tom’s landlord was exploiting and abusing his vulnerable tenants. Tom, with Shelter’s help, took legal action. 

‘In December 2016, I moved into a new place. It was the kind of house that people move into when they’re desperate, the landlord knew it and he took advantage.  

The oven was leaking gas when I moved in. The landlord had blocked off the boiler so the tenants couldn’t turn on the heating and the shower had rotten floorboards under it; you could … 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

What being a helpline adviser is really like
What being a helpline adviser is really like

Our helpline is vital for anyone who needs emergency housing advice, 365 days a year. Sharon, one of our expert advisers answers your questions.

Q: Who calls the helpline?

Anyone and everyone; people from every walk of life and across all generations.

Q: What do they call about?

It can vary seasonally. For example, during the winter months we have a lot of calls about damp and mould, boiler problems and general disrepair in rented properties.

Changes in legislation and … Read more

Every door closed to you, every avenue exhausted until you end up sleeping in your car
Every door closed to you, every avenue exhausted until you end up sleeping in your car

Join our campaign and stop this shocking discrimination against people on benefits from wrecking lives

Open discrimination against people on benefits is freely taking place up and down the country, in letting agent windows and online adverts. In ‘No DSS’, we have a sign that prejudice is rife in the housing market. And it’s destroying lives.

For private renters squeezed by low wages and high prices, ‘No DSS’ can be the final straw. Some landlords and letting agents won’t rent … Read more

Over a year since the Grenfell fire
Over a year since the Grenfell fire

Over a year later, we’re still supporting residents who survived the Grenfell Tower fire, and working to hold the authorities to account and leading the conversation on the future of social housing.

How we’ve helped

Immediately after the fire Shelter’s team of advisers, solicitors and volunteers offered expert housing advice and support. And we set up a new dedicated service.

We have so far helped 90 people from Grenfell Tower and 180 from the nearby community.

Stephanie, whose flat overlooks … Read more

The price households pay for poorly informed policy
The price households pay for poorly informed policy

The papers on housing affordability measures and their implications for policy released by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Excellence (CaCHE) this week are an important contribution towards fixing the housing crisis. They highlight the inadequacies of how policy makers often conceive of affordability, and in turn how policy levers can be used to improve affordability.

The takeaway message from Professor Meen’s papers, as far as we’re concerned, is clear: the government needs to do a lot more work if they … Read more