Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters
Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters

In the coming months, the government is due to report the results of its consultation on longer private tenancies. It will be our first chance to see whether the government will stick to its guns and change the law, so that all private renters get a longer tenancy and genuine security from no-fault ‘Section 21’ evictions.

In this post we’ll consider what will happen if the government loses its nerve by opting for a non-legislative, voluntary approach. If it … Read more

Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights
Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights

New analysis sheds light on the impact of a social housing get out clause in England. Our research estimates that urban authorities have missed out on over 10,000 affordable homes between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

In 2018, Theresa May promised a ‘new generation of council homes to help fix our broken housing market’. We welcome this, and the announcement of an additional £2 billion for housing associations to help deliver on it. With just under 6,500 socially rented houses delivered in … Read more

How we got our advisers to answer more emergency helpline calls
How we got our advisers to answer more emergency helpline calls

As a service delivery organisation, we face constant demand pressure on our already overstretched services. This isn’t going to change any time soon   so it’s essential we optimise and improve the way our clients engage with our services.  

Previously, we talked about redefining what ‘urgency’ means to different people, and how it could impact their experience of using our housing helpline service. We introduced our emergency helpline number, which gives service users the option to decide how important their … Read more

The benefit cap is harming struggling families
The benefit cap is harming struggling families

At Shelter, our solicitors and many other legal aid housing lawyers frequently represent families who are struggling in unimaginable ways under the household benefit cap. This policy, introduced in 2013 and revised in 2016, caps the amount in state benefits that an individual household can claim per year. Many families affected by the cap are now at breaking point.

A grandmother who gave up work to care for her five grandchildren, only for her benefits to be capped because … Read more

Why our shops provide an alternative to Christmas consumerism
Why our shops provide an alternative to Christmas consumerism

An older, wiser friend of mine recently said: ‘I can’t help feeling sorry for young parents these days. First there’s advent calendars with a present for every day of December, then there’s Christmas Eve boxes full of presents, then stockings, then the big presents on the day itself, and on top of that, some bright spark has come up with Elf on the Shelf’!’

She might just have a point. But it isn’t just parents who feel the pressure. From … Read more

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

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