‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep
‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

High rents and dwindling benefits leave many families unable to heat their homes or eat. Shelter is demanding that the right to a home be placed on a par with the rights to education and healthcare.

When Tariq’s* wife saw the temporary accommodation the council were offering the couple and their two sons, she cried. The three bedrooms were damp, with mould … Read more

Cross-party working closes the Tenant Fees Bill loophole
Cross-party working closes the Tenant Fees Bill loophole

In her first party conference speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May vowed to use the ‘power of government’ to step in and repair markets that weren’t working. At the time, we wrote of our hope that this could be good news for renters, a rapidly expanding group of consumers who face a marketplace full of dysfunction.

Just a few weeks later, the Chancellor announced a ban on letting fees to tenants in his Autumn Budget. The aim of the ban … Read more

Border politics – how private renters in Scotland are getting a better deal
Border politics – how private renters in Scotland are getting a better deal

As the Brexit negotiations enter a crucial stage, we’ve been hearing a lot about borders. At Shelter, we’ve also recently been paying a lot of attention to one of our borders – but we’ve been more focused on the Scottish border and how renters either side of the divide are getting a very different deal.

If you are a private renter searching for a property near the Scottish border, you may notice some differences between the adverts for homes … Read more

How much longer can lenders get away with DSS discrimination?
How much longer can lenders get away with DSS discrimination?

When challenged over why they discriminate against renters on benefits, landlords and letting agents often point the finger at the banks – blaming the fact that buy-to-let lenders do not allow landlords to let to tenants on housing benefit. We hear this defence regularly in response to our campaign, so in this blog we’re going to look at the extent to which lenders really are driving discrimination against renters on housing benefit. And why the recent controversy with NatWestRead more

DSS Discrimination: letting agents' excuses
DSS Discrimination: letting agents' excuses

Our DSS discrimination campaign has lifted the lid on practices and policies many would like to believe simply didn’t exist in 2018. 

Recently Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham and Deptford, raised with us how shocked she had been to discover the impossible situation people were being put in. During regular constituency drop-in surgeries, Ms Foxcroft was repeatedly faced with constituents in receipt of housing benefit being denied somewhere to live by multiple letting agencies. 

Shocked by the discriminatory practice and … Read more

Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics
Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics

Using statistics often requires a compromise of some sort, because a statistic is usually a simplification of a more complex issue. This means stats are often misused, or misunderstood.

We were recently criticised (along with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – always a good organisation to be grouped with) by Ian Mulheirn on our use of the local authority level Valuation Office Authority (VOA) data on two-bed private sector housing rents. We were told that the VOA data does … Read more

DSS discrimination: campaign update
DSS discrimination: campaign update

Shelter supporters are a powerful bunch.

Since we launched our campaign against DSS discrimination in August, they’ve acted en mass. Thousands have emailed, tweeted and called Ludlow Thompson, a leading letting agent, to demand that they stamp out discrimination against renters on housing benefit

Our joint investigation with the National Housing Federation suggested that Ludlow Thompson were frequently banning renters on housing benefit from homes they let. In response to the investigation, Ludlow told us that it was not company Read more

Shelter services - our view on benefit discrimination
Shelter services - our view on benefit discrimination

At Shelter, we know how hard it can be for people to find somewhere safe and suitable to live. For many, the security and affordability of social housing is an impossible dream, never mind the fantasy of owning their own home.

While families sit on waiting lists up and down the country, they, and millions of others, face the harsh reality of private renting. The eye-watering cost is not even the first hurdle. The majority of low-income renters will have … Read more

No one should have to choose between their health and their home
No one should have to choose between their health and their home

Imagine wanting to take your 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 what Laura faced until our hospital discharge team in Birmingham stepped into help.

When we first met Laura, she was living in a damp and mouldy council flat with her four young children, worried for their health and terrified they might be taken into care.

Living in unacceptable conditions

Laura, … Read more

First-time renter? Here's what you need to know
First-time renter? Here's what you need to know

Renting your own place can be really exciting, but sometimes things can go wrong. Here’s a round-up of some of the most common questions we get asked about renting with a private landlord.

And just to say that this post relates to assured shorthold tenancies (AST), the most common type of tenancy if you rent from a private landlord. If you have a different type of agreement, or you don’t know, use our Tenancy Rights Checker to find the … Read more

Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords
Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords

This blog was written jointly with Rose Arnall in Shelter’s Legal Services.

The launch of our campaign to end DSS discrimination against renters on housing benefit has suggested that some landlords and letting agents may not be fully up to speed on how their policies could be putting them at risk of breaching the Equality Act 2010.

So we’ve put together some top tips to advise landlords and agents on how best to avoid discrimination.

Avoiding direct discrimination 

Most landlords … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more