An introduction to housing courts
An introduction to housing courts

At last year’s Conservative Party Conference, Sajid Javid announced that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would consult on the case for a specialist housing court. The government wanted to explore whether a new housing court could improve court processes, making it quicker and cheaper to resolve disputes – particularly for landlords and tenants.

Since this initial announcement, MHCLG has said little publicly about its plans for consultation. However, the idea of a specialist housing court has … Read more

How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees
How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees

There’s something to celebrate for private renters: the government’s hotly anticipated ban on letting fees is approaching its second reading. Because for too long, renters have been ripped off – shelling out £272 per person (on average) in fees. Together with our supporters, we’ve campaigned for years to stop this, so we’re delighted to see the government taking action through the Tenant Fees Bill.

Letting agents, and some landlords, aren’t quite so jubilant. Their days of charging outrageous fees are … Read more

More action needed to protect renters against unfair evictions
More action needed to protect renters against unfair evictions

Many renters in the private rented sector put up with unacceptable conditions in their homes because they are too afraid of being evicted to speak out. That’s according to the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee. In its recently published report, the Committee called on the government to address a ‘clear power imbalance’ in parts of the sector.

A standout recommendation, amongst many welcome recommendations that could see significant improvements in the sector, is a call on … Read more

Windrush shows it's easy to fall foul of Right to Rent
Windrush shows it's easy to fall foul of Right to Rent

As the stories from people affected by the Windrush scandal continue to emerge, the government’s ‘hostile environment’ strategy faces growing scrutiny. The hostile environment – the idea of making it increasingly uncomfortable for people who are living in the UK illegally – has framed the background for many government initiatives in recent years. One of these initiatives was the Right to Rent scheme, which we had deep concerns about since its inception.

The Right to Rent threatens private landlords with … Read more

Let’s stop letting agents unfairly holding on to holding deposits
Let’s stop letting agents unfairly holding on to holding deposits

We recently shared Emily’s story which highlights just how easily holding deposits can be abused. Emily was forced to take a letting agent to court because they refused to refund a £700 holding deposit. And even though Emily won the case, the letting agent still hasn’t paid up.

The good news is that the government is now planning to cap holding deposits at one week’s rent – this is one of the proposals in the draft Tenant Fees Bill, … Read more

The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 2)
The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 2)

This is the second post in a two-part blog exploring how the government is taking action to improve protections for private renters. Part one considered the impact of the introduction of banning orders and the rogue landlord database. In this part, we turn to the issue of letting-agent regulation.

Here’s an update on the main changes for the lettings sector and what more we want to see the government doing to ensure there are no loopholes, through which letting agents … Read more

The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 1)
The government is taking action to protect private renters (part 1)

The government’s drive to improve private renting has got a spring in its step. Not only has the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published its next steps for bringing in letting agent regulation and mandatory client money protection, but banning orders and the rogue landlord and letting agent database, as promised in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, come into force this week.

Over two blogs we’ll look at how, together with the ban on letting agent … Read more

Letting Agents admit they’ll exploit loophole in draft Tenant Fees Bill
Letting Agents admit they’ll exploit loophole in draft Tenant Fees Bill

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has published its report on the draft Tenant Fees Bill, which will ban letting fees to tenants. The Committee has been tasked with scrutinising the bill before it’s formally introduced to Parliament and making recommendations about how to strengthen it.

To help do this, the committee received evidence from a wide range of organisations, including letting agents, landlord bodies and tenant groups. We submitted written evidence and then gave oral evidence at the … Read more

Slow progress replacing unsafe Grenfell-style cladding
Slow progress replacing unsafe Grenfell-style cladding

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy last year, it emerged that the type of cladding fitted on the building may have contributed to the rapid acceleration of the fire. Since then, the government have been coordinating a Building Safety Programme to identify other buildings with similar cladding – and there’s a lot of them.

Government stats released today show that only a tiny proportion of the unsafe cladding has been totally replaced on homes across the country. Out … Read more

Lyndsay's section 21 eviction story
Lyndsay's section 21 eviction story

Lyndsay’s eviction story began with a letter. Her landlord sent her a section 21 notice, giving her two months to leave her home.

After struggling to find another landlord who would accept a tenant who claimed benefits, Lyndsay decided to contact the local council for help. It was her housing officer there who spotted a problem with her section 21 notice, making it invalid.

Lyndsay’s landlord had to send a second section 21 notice, which gave her another two months … Read more

‘We’re so grateful for it, but it’s only temporary.’ Laura’s story
‘We’re so grateful for it, but it’s only temporary.’ Laura’s story

According to a YouGov survey of 3,978 private renters, one in six private renters say that they have had a pest or vermin infestation in the last year. We spoke to Laura about her experience:

I work full-time, and support my family – my husband, our five children, and my mother.

‘We privately rented a flat for three years. It was in poor condition and we’d had various disagreements with the landlord over repairs and rent increases, including an ant … Read more

Tackling the hidden economy through PRS licensing
Tackling the hidden economy through PRS licensing

The government has been consulting on a compliance known as ‘conditionality’, which would mean landlords will have to show that they are registered for tax with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) before being granted a licence to trade, or before their licence is renewed. Landlords who are just setting up and not yet trading would need to show that they have understood the requirements to be registered. Simply, it means access to the public sector licenses needed to trade … Read more