Tag Archives: Renters

Shelter Response To The English Housing Survey

Shelter UK

Shelter UK

Please find below Shelter’s response to the government’s English Housing Survey, which show:

  • Overall: 63% of English households are homeowners, 20% are private renters and 17% are social renters
  • Renters: The number of households that are private renting has risen by 74% in the last ten years (2007 – 2016/17) – There has been a particularly large rise in families with children in private rented sector over last ten years, with a million more now compared to ten years ago (800K in 2006/7 to 1.8m 2016/17)
  • Home ownership: The number of home owners with a mortgage has fallen by 20% over the last ten years, while the total number of households who now own outright has risen by 21% in the last ten years
  • Affordability: The average proportion of income being spent on rent by private renters is now 41%. By comparison, mortgaged households pay on average 19% of income
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “With the number of renters having risen substantially over the past decade, it’s time to start paying attention to the needs of people who rent long term, not just those who have a chance to own.
“It would be a mistake to focus on homeownership for the minority at the expense of families left to suffer expensive and insecure private renting.
“To give renters a better deal, the government must make good on its promise to massively increase the number of affordable homes available for ordinary families to rent.”
Anyone who is worried about losing their home can get free and independent, expert advice from Shelter at www.shelter.org.uk/advice or by calling the helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Government Supports New Measures To Improve The Safety Of Tenants

The Housing Secretary confirms government support for new legislation to help ensure rented homes are safe

Marsham Street

Marsham Street

Secretary of State for Housing Sajid Javid today (14 January) confirmed government support for new legislation that will help ensure rented homes are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action when landlords fail in their duties.

The government has already introduced a range of powers for local authorities enabling them to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe or substandard accommodation. This includes being able to fine failing landlords up to £30,000 and from April this year councils will also be able to issue banning orders to kick the worst offenders out of the business.

However public safety is paramount which is why government will support further measures proposed by Karen Buck MP in a Private Members Bill to protect tenants in both the social and private rented sectors.

This will give them another route to take direction action and take their landlords to court if they don’t ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.

However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.

Further Information

Government has worked with Karen Buck MP to draft and publish the Private Members Bill on Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards).

The Bill ensures:

  • that all landlords (both social and private sector) must ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout and
  • where a landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation

Local authority powers to deal with landlords who rent out unsafe of substandard accommodation:

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System – which was introduced by the Housing Act 2004 – is already used by local authorities to assess whether a property contains potentially serious risks to the health and safety of the occupants.

Where a property does contain hazards, local authorities have strong powers under the Housing Act 2004 to require that landlords make necessary improvements to a property. Where a property contains potentially serious risks to the health and safety of the occupants, the local authority must take appropriate action requiring the landlord to reduce or remove the risk.

Government has brought forward a whole suite of measures to make sure local authorities effectively tackle rogue landlords who let unfit properties, including:

  • introducing, in April 2017, civil penalties up to £30,000, with the local authority able to keep the proceeds to fund enforcement
  • extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with certain statutory notices (introduced April 2017)
  • £12 million made available (2011-16) to a range of local authorities with acute problems with rogue landlords, resulting in the inspection of over 70,000 properties and more than 5,000 landlords facing further action or prosecution for breaking the law
  • enabling the local authority to introduce a selective licensing scheme allowing it to target enforcement action where private rented housing in a particular area is suffering from or causing specific problems
  • consulted on extending mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation, and following this will shortly be laying regulations

And we’ve got plans to introduce in April 2018:

  • a database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences
  • banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders
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FinTech To Help Renters Get On The Housing Ladder

New competition to use rental payment data to improve credit scores and mortgage applications for the 11 million renters in Britain

HM Treasury

HM Treasury

HM Treasury is offering £2 million to budding entrepreneurs who can develop an application that will enable Britain’s 11 million renters to record and share their rent payment data, helping to improve their credit scores and their chances of getting a mortgage.

The Challenge, announced in the Autumn Budget, will be launched by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay at the Fintech Connect Live conference this morning.

Winning bids to the Rent Recognition Challenge will be selected by a panel of leading figures from the Fintech sector. The competition will provide an initial round of grant funding to six promising proposals to help to turn the ideas into a workable product. The expert judges will then whittle the six down to just a handful of teams who will receive further funding and support to bring their ideas to market.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, said:

People’s monthly rent is often their biggest expense, so it makes sense for it to be recognised when applying for a mortgage. Without a good credit score, getting a mortgage can be a real struggle.

Most lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are unable to take rental data into account, because they don’t have access to it. The Rent Recognition Challenge will challenge firms to develop an innovative solution to this problem and help to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation.

The Challenge will open to applications early in the New Year, and development will conclude in October 2018.

Shelter Calls For Half A Million New Fair Rent Homes, As 44% Of Low Earners Cut Back On Basics Like Food And Clothing To Over Rent

Shelter UK

Shelter UK

Today in a groundbreaking new report, Shelter is calling on the government to dramatically increase its building of genuinely affordable housing with a new generation of Fair Rent Homes for working families who are desperately struggling to keep up.

On top of the welcome pledge of 25,000 new council homes announced at Conservative Party Conference, Shelter says more are urgently needed and the invitation to rent an affordable home must also be extended up the income scale to address the breadth and depth of the problem.

Releasing new research with YouGov showing 44% of low paid renters cut back on basics like food, clothing and toys for their children to pay for their home, Shelter says young working people and families who are just managing to keep their heads above water also need the government’s help.

Shelter is calling for a massive boost to affordable housing, with half a million Fair Rent Homes being built for low earners, in addition to half a million council homes for those in the greatest need – one million homes for people who are struggling over the next ten years.

With rents tied to local incomes, Fair Rent Homes would help low to middle earners, typically working in jobs such as care home staff, hairdressers, security guards, factory workers and sales representatives. This group cannot get a council house but cannot keep up with market rent either, due their low incomes. They are essentially trapped.

Worryingly, the Shelter research also shows that one in ten workers on low wages also fall behind on other payments such as gas and electricity bills or council tax so they can pay their rent.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “No parent should have to choose between buying school clothes or paying their rent. But far too many families are feeling shame and anxiety as they are forced to make impossible decisions just to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“This report reveals the true scale of housebuilding this country needs. Despite slogging every hour they can, huge numbers of people are struggling to keep up with colossal private rents. And with next to no chance of getting a council home, they are trapped and are forced into dangerous debt.

“It’s good to see the government investing in council housing for those hit hardest by the housing crisis but there are millions more low paid renters only just scraping by, who also need help. Only investing in a new generation of Fair Rent Homes will give these families the chance of a stronger and more secure future.”

Case study: Nadine from Wokingham works two jobs to pay her rent of £950 per month, in sales and as a health consultant. But every month she still struggles to pay for the roof over her daughter’s head.

She says: “Until my daughter turned 16 recently, I cut back on an awful lot of clothes for her. I only managed to buy two new shirts and one from a charity shop to keep her in a school uniform – she wore the rest for the entire time she was there. I used to glue her school shoes back together myself, but managed to replace them once when the hole in the sole was so big that her socks got soaked when it rained.

“We haven’t had a holiday for three years – not even a weekend away. Her school trips were her holidays and they were only paid for by tight budgeting, and my daughter’s own savings. I don’t want her life chances spoilt by a housing crisis which takes all my money. I would rather go without things like food and clothes for myself than have her miss out on things other children do.”


Shelter Comment On ONS Homelessness Stats

Shelter UK

Shelter UK

Anne Baxendale, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said:

“The Grenfell Tower tragedy has left people without a home and living in a dire situation, it has also thrust the issue of homelessness into the spotlight. While Shelter is calling for those affected to be placed in good quality temporary accommodation nearby, and hope officials make good on their promise to do so, we know many local authorities simply don’t have enough affordable accommodation for those on low incomes. It’s a similar story across all London boroughs and the country more widely, so it’s no surprise that today’s homelessness stats reveal the problem is getting worse nationally, with more households becoming homeless every year.

“Many of the families that come to Shelter for advice say the benefit cap is pushing them into homelessness. Many desperately want to work but can’t make up the required hours of work a week due to childcare issues or insecure work like zero hours contracts. That’s why we’re pleased today’s high court judgment, which Shelter provided evidence for, has found that the cap discriminates against lone parents with children under 2. In the words of the judge, ‘real misery is being caused to no good purpose.’ We are calling on the government to scrap the cap immediately, before it pushes even more people into homelessness.”

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