Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls
Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls

The Supreme Court has just given judgment in the case of Samuels v Birmingham City Council, where the court was asked to consider whether a home should have been considered affordable where the housing benefit did not meet the full rent.

This is an important test case, in which Shelter intervened. It will have major implications for local authority homelessness services and put further pressure on the government to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates back to the bottom … 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

The rent control you’ve never heard of (part 1)

Renting in the private rented sector? Think your rent is too high? You might be one of the 60% of Britain in favour of introducing rent controls. However, you might be surprised to know that rent controls already exist in England.

No, these are not the often-discussed historic ‘fair rent’ properties, the volume of which has dwindled to very small part of the market. Under ‘regulated’ tenancies, tenants are entitled to a ‘fair rent’ set by the Valuation Office Agency, … Read more

Homes for NHS workers... Possibly? Maybe? Perhaps?

Last year, the Department for Health commissioned Sir Robert Naylor to produce an independent report into NHS property – including how to make best use of its land. The resulting report flew under the radar of all but the most diligent, but it contained some incredibly interesting insights into what could happen to NHS land.

On 30 January, the government accepted the majority of Naylor’s recommendations. This includes utilising surplus NHS land to make a financial contribution to estate improvement. … Read more

Homelessness hits 300,000: we need your help today

Sleeping in a car at night is what most of us expect to have to do in order to keep a roof over our heads. Yet this is how John* coped after being thrown out of his flat by his landlord. John approached his local council for help after his landlord changed the locks to his home.

John was working, yet his low earnings wouldn’t allow him to find any affordable housing in the area. This time, the council was … Read more

How much are the homes from Location, Location, Location episode 1 worth now?
How much are the homes from Location, Location, Location episode 1 worth now?

It’s hard to believe that Kirstie and Phil started presenting Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location way back in May 2000.

The first episode is well-worth a watch. Watch it to chuckle at the dated fashions and dodgy camerawork, if you must. But the main attraction is, of course, how unbelievably cheap all the properties are.

So as an experiment we tracked them all down to find out how much they are worth now.

The results are mind-boggling.

Inflation, inflation, Read more
Talking about bubbles misses the point

Not a day goes by without someone, somewhere, making their case for why we are in a new house price bubble – and someone else insisting that we’re not.

The argument about what actually constitutes a bubble is both pointless and annoying, as it is completely detached from people’s lives and experiences. But even worse is the constant comparison of today’s house prices to ‘the peak’. The ‘bubble-believers’ point to house price indices to show that house prices today are … Read more