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Generation Rent attacks landlords on Homes Under The Hammer

Generation Rent has criticised the aspirations of some landlords who appear on the daytime BBC show Homes Under The Hammer. 

“The regular inclusion of landlords turning family homes into Houses of Multiple Occupancy on the show is troubling” says the campaign group on Twitter.

It continues: “Cramming in as many people into houses as you can is not only bad for renters' mental health but also removes a family home from the market.”


The criticism comes after the campaign was mentioned in an article in The Guardian newspaper; the story lookeds at the success of the programme, which has been running since 2003 and now attracts an average audience of some 1.3m.

Celebrities who have come out as fans of the show include, unlikely as it may seem, actors Meryl Streep and Mark Wahlberg as well as Paul McCartney.  

However Generation Rent - led by its director, Baroness Alicia Kennedy - seems less enthusiastic.

Its spokesman Dan Wilson Craw is quoted in the Guardian piece saying of landlords who are featured on the show: “In most of these cases, you’re taking a family home and cramming as many people in there as you can, to maximise the profit you can get out of it. That’s a big problem.”

He goes on to speak of the mental health consequences of being stuck in what are referred to as “pokey flats without communal living areas.”


And he adds: “Property prices have risen as a result of the demand for investment properties, and that drives further investment … Buy to let developed a reputation in the 1990s and 2000s as being a good place to put your money. But of course the source of all this money is renters who may have been in a position to buy a home, were it not for all these landlords driving up the prices.” 

You can see The Guardian piece here.

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  • George Dawes

    The guardian ?

    Perfect size for my cats litter tray

    Lou Valdini

    Growing up in rented housing in the centre of London in the 60s, we had 2 lodgers on the top floor and me, my parents and 3 sisters were crammed in below. We had one outside loo (with cut-up newspaper - best use for the Guardian!), no bathroom, and no heating apart from a coal fire and electric wall heaters. Our lodgers were very happy with what they had. What renters have today, and the protection they are given in law, is a million miles away from what we had. When did they become so entitled?

    • 17 February 2021 15:54 PM

    I must say, you are ALL wrong and Andrew was right.

    My comment about thick and lazy gits was certainly referring only to the type of tenants under discussion and certainly and certainly not a reference to Mr. Townshend.

    In fact - Quite the opposite.

    I hope that clears up the misunderstading of the comment?


    David, I knew who your comment was aimed at , but as normal that half wit from Leicester got it all wrong, Don't think the idiot is a landlord at all.

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    I don't do HMOs, they attract the very kind of tenants that I don't want at any price, but I have to ask where would these kind of people live if there were not HMOs available ? they cannot afford the rent on anything else.

    • 17 February 2021 09:34 AM

    Must be tough to be a thick lazy git?


    That's a bit harsh David, Andrew isn't everyone's cup of tea but calling him a git is a bit much.


    Leics Landlord, I think possibly you have miss understood David's comment, I suspect he was referring to the HMO tenants


    On the evidence available, no.

    • 17 February 2021 11:02 AM

    Spot on


    Thanks KC, glad you agree.


    Andrew I'm not a fan of getting into the HMO business either but it only means additional properties need to be built if everyone wants a separate dwelling. Think of the climate GR that you conveniently forgot.
    Don't think all of them are thick lazy gits David but they do attract that group


    KC, I think LL wrongly thinks you agree with him?

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Andrew, So-called ( Rogue-) tenant support groups aren't interested in solutions, they only campaign for the small minority of Rent defaulting tenants - at the harm of 90% of law-abiding tenants.

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    We don' & didn't want HMO's it was forced upon us by Local Authorities, it was introduced to make easy money for the Council, no contribution from them whatsoever but giving the the opportunity to charge anything the like, the only restriction on them by Gov' was not to make a profit, now is that the easiest thing in the World to do, waste it, can I have a Contract like that please. HMO forced LL's by Regulation to remodel the Property to Comply therefore making it unsuitable for Family use. I have seen Homes under the hammer on occasions (but usually at Work when its on). When the property was bought at Auction whether a Family purchase (sometimes supported by Parents) or LL. In virtually all cases they needed a lot of work sometimes dumps and were turned around into beautiful Homes, would Generation Rent prefer to let them stay there rotting away and no use to anyone. What I take from this is anyone that works hard to do this and do their best to do good, will be hammered by all those useless Organisations, not a day's work in any of them.

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    The same old tired record, demonising landlords. So a house for one family or an HMO for, say, 10 people who might be unable to afford a 1 bed place to rent let alone be able to buy, and who otherwise might be stuck on a council house waiting list or living with mum and dad for life. A bed sit is usually a starter, with relatively affordable rent for a young person to allow them to save for something better. People need choice to suit their circumstances.
    Why not demonise the single people or couples who live in big family houses with empty rooms or developers who insist on building 4 bed detached houses on estates with a miniscule number of 'affordable' houses because, of course, that's where they make their big, fat profits.
    Private landlords are too few to be able to influence property prices in a significant way, it's all drivel. Put the landlord in the firing line as usual. Where is the NRLA, they should be defending landlords a lot more robustly.

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    LL's offer many solutions to those who can't or don't want to buy their own home. They can accommodate families in houses, couples in flats and singles in HMO, something government and councils fail to do. LL should be celebrated not condemned.

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    Many renters, particularly the young, can only afford a room because Govt policy has forced rents so high. A combination of lack of building housing over decades and the availability of LHA for everyone has pushed the cost of renting a whole house out of the reach of many. That, combined with people's desire for their own space before they can afford to buy, has pushed demand for HMOs up. HMO LLs are only responding to demand - if people didn't want the rooms LLs won't convert houses in this way.

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    Wendy, you make a lot of sense but unfortunately Licensing applies to Flats as well, Additional Licensing to catch the ones Mandatory Licensing didn't Catch, Selective Licensing where they pick on an area in particular to catch all that the other 2 missed. I am not contracting you because you didn't say otherwise, some properties are HMO's but are not License-able HMO's.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    As always, Generation Rent like to ignore the facts and veer towards the scandalous- every borough now has strict HMO licensing with minimum room sizes and many other requirements. Ignoring all of that- if these properties weren't converted into HMOs- when does GR think all of their Tenants are going to live? Fundamentally saying- don't create housing for tenants. Bizarre.


    Spot on!

    A key reason for the lack of rental properties is renters being unwilling (or not allowed) to share in the manner they always did in previous generations.

    I shared a 4 bedroom student flat with 7 other guys (officially) and often also with a few girls (with the "single" guys sofa surfing on a "my turn for the bedroom tomorrow" basis).

    We had
    1. an electrical engineer - who couldn't even by-pass the meter,
    2. a mechanical engineer - who couldn't fix anything we broke,
    3. a medic - sometimes came in handy,
    4. a vet- in case the medic took ill,
    5. a law student - useless if we ever needed him - still is!
    6. a microbiologist - couldn't even brew decent beer,
    7. a chemistry student - nearly blew us up trying to distill home made hooch,
    8. an art student - never expected him to be useful anyway.

    We had thread bare rugs, draughty windows, fire trap sofas, dodgy gas fires and old round pin plugs and frequent rodent visitors - but the biggest risk we had was dying of food or alcohol poisoning or fatal skin diseases through unwashed skin, clothing or bed clothes.

    The bottom line was we could well afford the rent split 8 ways and higher density sharers only needed half the number of flats than we would need with current day HMO rules, so leaving many more flats available for others to rent.

    Another case of the "campaigners" shooting themselves in the foot at the expense of other innocent tenants and the homeless who are no longer allowed to share as cheaply like we did ?

    PS - Never had so much fun (don't tell the wife!)

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    • 17 February 2021 11:06 AM

    Generation rent, a bunch of filthy useless peasants. Just like vermin to the economy, they want to live rent free. Lazy self entitled rotten a$$ wipes.


    Tell it as it is Kilo, sometimes the truth hurts

    • 17 February 2021 16:08 PM

    I cannot disagree with that thought at all.

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    We have HMOs along with houses and apartment lets. Our tenants range from singles, couples and families ....some with pets!!! (Hot topic). We (like us all) provide essential homes, the HMOs being the hardest work by a long mile. The majority of our HMO tenants are not in a position to rent a place solely for themselves, and unlikely to be for many years to come - where does Generation Rent suggest they would live? Like many landlords, we have helped so very many tenants over the years, but, there is never any mention of this, just the constant bashing! Regulations keep coming at us all and our rights are being trampled on by people with no knowledge of our demanding business! It feels as though tenants themselves are being brainwashed to see us (who supply them with safe, clean homes) as ‘The Enemy’.

  • icon

    The Article says cramming in as many people as possible which they must know is not true, one of the very requirements of HMO's is to restrict the number of occupants. Why the blatant lie ? and as said on here room size requirements apply, where there is over crowding it will be Tenant bringing in friends or sub-letting. The other issue I have I provide a living Room in all HMO Houses for that purpose but Council see fit to class them as habitable rooms, same as bedrooms where they apply an extra charge per room additional to License Fee, and apply this extra surcharge to the living room, another penalty for providing better quality accommodation.

  • Kathryn Everson

    I have also watched the programme many times over the years and most investors are refurbishing run down derelict houses that no one else would touch or could afford to do up or make habitable. Many of these investors put in a lot of work and finance and in many cases renovation expertise enabling them to do this at a lower cost than any member of the public could (not substandard). The majority I have seen were either sold on or rented, but not as HMO's. Having had young adults in my life, even when they share a house, they spend most of their time, by choice, in their own rooms, very rarely sharing communal living areas such as dining or sitting room, only kitchens. They can't afford, don't have the desire at that stage of their lives and don't want the responsibility of renting an entire flat or house on their own. This is a response to the market and rules and laws are absolutely in place to ensure standards are kept up to what is expected as far as safety, size and facilities. If the few rogue landlords that break these laws are not being pursued and prosecuted it is not because these tenants do not have the protection they need

  • icon

    There is NO foreseeable answer to the housing shortage for renters or first time buyers in the UK. Why ? Because 300,000 more people settle in the UK each year than leave. So that means maybe another 100,000 housing units, are required to keep pace. Never mind the massive backlog in requirement.

    The UK no longer builds / decides it cannot afford to build social housing. So where do people on lower incomes live ? Help to Buy is great . But it does lead to house price inflation ( as has the stamp duty holiday) . It is great though for the profits of house builders.

    All Politicians promise to solve the problem. But a bit like the Stonehenge bypass on the A303. I have been waiting 50 years for that to happen !!

  • icon

    Meryl Streep is an actress.

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    • 17 February 2021 15:57 PM

    As we live in a laisse faire economy, it is undeniable situation that everyone is forced to pay whatever the markets demand.

    If we break up that system, then we lose democracy.

    And I am sure you can imagine what that will entail.

    • 17 February 2021 19:28 PM

    Join the facebook group called uk landlord support group. We need more landlords like you.

  • English Landlord

    Generation Rent, what a disgraceful lot you are! Whilst the Government are failing to build thousands of new housing every year the Local Authorities are constantly attacking LL's. Whoever said that property investing was easy money? Whilst TV programmes like Homes Under The Hammer are doing a wonderful job at helping to educate who would deny the entrepreneurship in developing sustainable housing which is affordable and well managed? Only a thankless idiot! Whether it's thick and lazy gits or not, HMO's certainly have their place in society!


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