Tag Archives: private rented sector

Help make the Lib Dems the renters’ champion

On Tuesday morning, the last day of conference, I moved a motion calling on conference to support renters. To support them by instructing our party to scrap section 21 of the housing act (1988). Section 21 is the part of the act that allows no-fault evictions. You can see the debate that followed here. Please do watch it, but to save you time, I’m very happy to be able to tell you that they did. So, it is now party policy to scrap section 21, either directly as a government, or indirectly, in response to a vote in the Commons, or in response to a consultation (and of course, one is already running and offering that very approach).

But as I said in my speech, as I have in other LDV articles, I’m interested in more than just scrapping a pernicious piece of legislation. Section 21 is the legislative bullet of no-fault evictions, but it’s not really the cause. There are in fact many causes. In my speech I identified the biggest. We have too few homes, whether for rent or for purchase. And what are available are either too expensive for the vast majority of our fellow citizens, or are in seriously unfit for habitation, in dangerous states of repair or maintenance.

I, like many people, am not in a place to be able to afford to buy a home anytime soon, so I will be reliant on the private rental market (a term I hate as much as I hate the term ‘luxury’, which seems to appear in front of every new home advert my news feed seems to see fit dangle in my face) for the foreseeable future. And in itself that’s not a problem. I’m not a ‘stuff’ person, so ownership has never been the epitome of existence for me; I’m much more of a Gig person, using my local cycle hire scheme to get around and buying ‘pre-loved’ tech whenever mine finally gives up.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Ending Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions is the right thing to do for private renters – it can also be a vote winner

I’m a private renter. Nothing unusual about that I’m sure you’ll say, lots of people are. And that’s true, but it wasn’t always that way, and the current situation, of growing numbers of private renters, is a recent phenomenon. The most recent figures from the English Housing Survey show that a fifth of people across England now live in privately rented accommodation.

A third of councils have more than 20% of residents renting privately, and research from the campaign group Shelter shows that at the next (currently scheduled) general election there will be 253 constituencies where more than 20% of voters …

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Renters need fairer access to affordable credit

The poverty premium is taking a crippling toll on people who can least afford it. It’s estimated that every year those living in poverty pay an extra £490 for the basics of energy, phones, white goods, food and furniture. But how can it be fair that the poor pay more?

The problem is that the rental payments of Britain’s 11 million renters aren’t recorded or recognised in the same way that mortgage payments are. This means some of the least well-off pay the most to borrow. All the while, over two-thirds …

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New Committee report out saying tenants needed more protection

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has released a report today saying that the “most vulnerable tenants need greater legal protections from retaliatory evictions, rent increases and harassment so they are fully empowered to pursue complaints about repairs and maintenance in their homes.”

This report on the private rented sector found that many properties were sub-standard, calling on the Government to address the ‘clear power imbalance’, with

tenants often unwilling to complain to landlords about conditions in their homes such as excess cold, mould or faulty wiring.

I am appalled that this …

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Tom Brake MP writes…It’s time to reform renting

Recently at my surgery I met a distressed young woman who came to see me with her mother. Repairs are outstanding on their rented property. The landlord is refusing to sort them out while at the same time putting pressure on them to leave their flat. She didn’t know where to go or what to do.

This is a familiar story and it is no exaggeration to say that we have a national emergency in housing. There are vast numbers of people living in fear and uncertainty and in 2016 that is simply unacceptable.

We clearly have a rental sector which is broken. Many people are spending over half their disposable income on rent and yet a third of homes fail to meet the Government’s decent homes standard, with over 60% of renters having experienced either damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestation or gas leaks, according to a recent survey commissioned by Shelter.

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Rent reforms – Miliband to announce 20th area of Lib-Lab agreement today

decent homesSix weeks ago I highlighted the 17 policy areas where there is significant agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems. These range from tax-cuts for low-earners and the mansion tax to local school accountability to an EU in/out referendum. There were also two areas I omitted, flagged by Adam Corlett in a comment here: childcare and a living wage.

A 20th area can now be added, with Ed Miliband set to announce Labour’s plans for the private rental sector, some of which mirror the Lib Dems’ Decent Home

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The Independent View: Rooting out criminal landlords

Landlod and tenant License Some rights reserved by umjanedoanIn his recent article, Julian Huppert MP declared that “landlords should have to compete on quality not just on price.” The Residential Landlords Association agrees. The question is how to achieve this.

Many councils have chosen some form of licensing to identify the ‘rogues’ who over-crowd homes and rent sub-standard properties.

The problem with licensing schemes is they identify the good landlords who sign up but fail to find the crooks. Even Newham, the most pro-active borough in this respect, has failed to reach the hardcore of 20% of rogue landlords after a year’s intensive enforcement.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Julian Huppert writes: Improving the private rented sector

Terraced housingThere are 9 million people in the private rented sector in the UK. Many of them get a rough deal from landlords who push the rules, and letting agents out to exploit them.

Letting agencies have been allowed to charge exorbitant fees to do the simplest, cheapest administrative tasks – sending an email, posting a letter or changing a name on the tenancy. According to Shelter, 1 in 7 people who use letting agents spend £500 on fees, that’s on top of rent and deposits!

Last Wednesday, I presented a Bill to …

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