Newham’s selective licensing scheme renewed - except for the Olympic Park

Late last week, we learnt that the Government has decided that Newham can renew its selective licensing scheme across almost all of the borough, for another five years.

Five months after the council first submitted its application, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has given Newham permission to renew its scheme, except for the E20 postcode – the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park site, not the fictional Albert Square.

While the delay means that there will be a gap … Read more

On Universal Credit, the government is ignoring the elephant in the room

As Philip Hammond prepares for this week’s Budget, it looks increasingly likely that he will concede on making some changes to Universal Credit (UC). Faced with opposition from his own backbenchers, who have challenged him with distressing tales from their constituencies, Mr Hammond may opt to reduce the six week waiting time for the benefit.

If so, it will be welcome. We have been calling for changes for long enough. Our frontline workers are seeing families reduced to destitution because … Read more

Young people are shut out of private renting

Shelter has said it, local government has said it, former ministers have said it – and now private landlords are saying it welfare reform is damaging young renters’ ability to access a home.

A new report, commissioned by the Residential Landlords Association, yesterday warned that under-35-year-olds will have difficulty finding privately rented accommodation as landlords cut back on renting to young people.

The report, by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, surveyed 1,996 private landlords around the country. … Read more

Shelter's new scheme expects to provide lifeline for Bristol families

Shelter’s Bristol Hub is piloting a bond scheme in partnership with the Bristol Credit Union that gives homeless families the chance to access private rented sector (PRS) housing.  

These families remain trapped in temporary housing because of their financial difficulties and not being able to compete for PRS accommodation. With the upfront costs of private renting ever increasing, raising £2k for deposits and rent in order to move into the PRS is a hurdle these families are unable to overcome. … Read more

Rogue One: Government policies are forcing tenants onto bad landlords

Imagine living in a house without hot water and heating. Or with mouse infestations, broken appliances, damp and mould. These are some of the problems people coming to Shelter live with every day.

Thanks to Shelter’s campaigning, local authorities are clamping down on this behaviour. A Guardian investigation has named some of the most prosecuted landlords in Bristol. Some of the problems found mirror what we see on a daily basis: broken cookers and drains, cold, substandard or unlicensed homes. … Read more

Is Right to Rent causing discrimination? The government ought to do some investigating

A report published yesterday suggests that the Right to Rent policy could be causing discrimination in the rental market. The government should use its upcoming private landlord survey to research whether its policy is leading to some unintended consequences.

It has been just over a year since a new law was rolled out in England to force landlords check their tenants’ immigration status. The Right to Rent scheme, part of the government’s multi-pronged approach to cracking down on illegal immigration, … Read more

Right to Rent: Tenants are footing the bill in fees

Last week the government tightened its Right to Rent rules, making it a criminal offence for a landlord to let to anyone they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, is an illegal immigrant.

Under the policy, landlords must check that their tenants can legally rent a property. Tenants must produce a document, such as a passport or a certificate of naturalisation, to prove their Right to Rent.

Until last week, a landlord that contravened this law would face a … Read more

You won't believe this totally mind-blowing method of reducing your letting agent fees!

Letting agent fees are one of the most painful aspects of renting. Every time you move, whether into or out of a home, you’re hit with a ludicrous list of fees. And they don’t come cheap either.

One of the most ridiculous, is the dreaded administration fee for changing the name on a tenancy agreement when people move out of a shared rental property. This can cost anything up to £300.

Driven to despair, I’ve developed an ingenious, fool-proof method … Read more

Seven ridiculous London rents that show why we need to fix renting
Seven ridiculous London rents that show why we need to fix renting

Struggling to find a reasonable place to rent in London? You’re not the only one. London renting is broken. For too many of us it is unaffordable, unstable and unsafe.

One in four people living in London are private renters – I’m one of them – and we deserve a better deal. Some renters have already reached breaking point, and decided they’ve no option but to leave London. Yet for many of us that simply isn’t an option. Instead … Read more

Government crackdown on rogue landlords

On Monday, the government announced that they will use the Housing Bill to crack down on rogue landlords. They published a raft of new, tough measures.

Disappointingly, this was wrapped up with some pretty objectionable plans to ‘make Britain an even harder place for illegal migrants’. We have already spoken out against these plans – and many others have warned that they will lead to discrimination and homelessness.

This angle was particularly frustrating, as buried underneath the angry rhetoric … Read more

A tax on both your (privately rented) houses

Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.

However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.

1. Raise the Roof

The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.

This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more

A rent cap in name only

This blog was originally published as part of #BeyondtheBallot the Huffington Post UK’s alternative take on the UK General Election 2015. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

A year ago to the day, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour Government will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. After calling for stable renting since 2012, Shelter welcomed this turning point.

On Sunday, this was repackaged a ‘cap on rents’.

Cue hysteria. … Read more