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Shelter wants rent controls at heart of future housing policy

Shelter has published what it calls a General Election manifesto with rent controls at its heart.

Called The Way Home: a manifesto to rebuild our broken housing system, it is a four-point plan for “ending the housing emergency, outlining what people across England and the housing sector are demanding from our country’s next government.”

Each point has several aspects.

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In a contribution to social housing trade publication Inside Housing, Shelter chief executive Polly Neate writes: “The emergency we now find ourselves in is not inevitable. We can and must do better. Taken together, this programme for the next government can comprehensively shift the approach and bring security and affordability to the nation’s homes.”

The first of the four points is “to provide people with safe, secure and affordable homes, political parties across the spectrum must commit to building 90,000 social homes a year for the next 10 years.”

Secondly “with private rents continuing to rise while wages stagnate, we must have a plan to prevent people from being trapped in a cycle of financial hardship. We need to make private renting affordable.  

“This means regulating how much landlords can hike rents within a tenancy each year, to protect people from the stress and instability of huge rent increases. Alongside this, adequate housing benefit is key to protect people from homelessness.”

Thirdly “to stop people’s homes making them sick, we need better management, robust regulation and proper enforcement standards for rented homes. Alongside the implementation of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, there must be investment in social homes to improve conditions for social renters. And for the private rented sector, local authorities need stronger powers to hold rogue landlords to account.”

And the fourth and final point is stronger and clearer housing rights which Neate says are “integral to tackling homelessness and allowing people to understand where and how to find the support they need for their housing situation to address problems before they escalate. Alongside this, we must give everyone at risk of street homelessness a legal right to suitable emergency accommodation and adequate support.”

Neate says: “Politicians must now be ready to respond. This emergency will not solve itself. But it has a solution, and those who experience the worst of it know what the answer is. At the next election the nation is demanding – and expecting – leaders to deliver change to end the housing emergency. Anything less is a commitment to further suffering.”

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    They're right that Housing Benefit needs to be adequate. Right now it's hundreds of £s below the cheapest properties in the area. HMO rooms are about £150 a month more than the room rate, one beds are about £180 more, 2 beds £250 to £400 more, 3 beds about £450 to £600 more and 4 beds between £400 and £800 a month more than LHA. That's just for the cheapest 30% of available properties. Above average ones are a lot more than that.
    That's a huge amount of money for low income families to take from money that is really supposed to be for food, heating or travel to work costs. The expectation from the Council Housing Options team is that the tenant finds the shortfall somehow. Maybe from Cost of Living handouts or the occasional DHP or good old fashioned budgeting. It certainly isn't expected that the landlord should rent it out at LHA level rent. They know we have a queue of people if we get any vacancies.
    It's a tricky situation. Do we condemn hard working single dads to sofa surfing with their kids or do we give them the chance of providing a home even though we know the affordability is hideous? Obviously in a bygone era they would have been given Social Housing within a few months. Now the Housing Options team are saying there's no chance of anything other than the PRS.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    You are on the money again Jo, had a guy on housing benefit and put a bit towards it and the rent was 450 a month. Nothing special 2up2down but he had been in it for a good few years and I left the rent alone.

    His head fell off and he wrecked the place, I have had to refurb the place and put it back on its feet. However after the refurb and looking down the barrel of a loss again this year I have had two options put to me.

    1. Local authority offering me a contract with full maintenance at £0 for ten years? (I still have the mortgage to pay).

    2. Private company offering to lease it off me for five years with professional working people at £1250 per month. (Just over £1k profit per month).

    Who's ultimately paying.... The local authority. Madness!!!

     
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    Be careful about the private company Peter. It won't be a company let unless the people living in the flat are employees of the company. If they are not, it will be a rent to rent agreement. There are different legal consequences.

    The company employees are licensees, the occupants in a rent to rent agreement are tenants.

    Will the local authority occupants be licensees or tenants? If they are tenants, it is possible that they could have an indefinite right to remain in your property once the renters reform legislation is in force. Having said that, lets to local authorities may be exempt from the Renters Reform legislation. It is going through Parliament so we don't know the details.

    Take a look at the Shelter webpage - Tenancies that cannot be assured - for the current position.

    This is an extract from that page regarding which tenancies can't be assured tenancies.

    Local authority and other public body tenancies
    Tenancies granted by the following bodies[39] cannot be assured:

    local authorities

    the Commission for New Towns (abolished 1 April 2009)

    the Development Board for Rural Wales

    urban development corporations

    development corporations

    waste disposal authorities

    residuary bodies

    fully mutual housing associations

    housing action trusts

    Accommodation for asylum seekers
    A tenancy granted by a private landlord[40] under arrangements for the provision of support for asylum seekers or dependents of asylum seekers made under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 cannot be assured.[41]This includes accommodation provided under UKVI asylum support.

    This provision does not prevent asylum seekers from entering into assured tenancies if they are making their own arrangements. The ordinary law relating to possession claims in respect of tenants who are asylum seekers applies as it does to other tenants.[42]
    Tenancies secured under the homelessness legislation
    Tenancies secured under an arrangement with a private landlord by a local authority carrying out the following homelessness functions normally cannot be assured:[43]
    interim accommodation pending inquiries

    temporary accommodation under the full housing duty where it is the same as the interim accommodation provided pending inquiries

    temporary accommodation where the applicant is being referred to another authority

    temporary accommodation to an applicant who has been found to be intentionally homeless

    temporary accommodation provided under the authority’s discretionary power pending a homelessness review or appeal

    The accommodation secured by the local authority will become assured (or assured shorthold) where 12 months have passed since the:[44]
    local authority made its decision on the homelessness application

    decision on review or an appeal was finally determined

    Temporary accommodation will also become assured if the landlord serves notice on the tenant that the tenancy is to be regarded as an assured tenancy.[45]

     
  • George Dawes

    Control Illegal Immigration

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    They are in total denial, it will lead to civil unrest eventually 😱

     
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    Anyone wanting to rent more than 2 years is a social renter

    Fifth point get a Go Outdoors card and buy a tent cos this Shelter lot are doing everything they can to make you the tenant homeless

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    What do they want they already made landlords Criminals, the Criminalisation Bill what used to be Civil Matters now Criminal for Landlords that’s how much they love us.

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    If you put in rent controls, you have to put in mortgage interest rate controls. How is that going to work? It’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest that tenants will be safer with rent controls because there won’t be any private rented houses!

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    You also have to add in food price controls, tradesman price controls and travel cost controls etc to make it fair to all suppliers to the general public.

     
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    Despite the evidence from Scotland proving that rent controls & eviction bans don't work, Shelter continues to call for them in the rest of the UK!

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    Has there ever been a proper sit down and debate with shelter not just NRLA but experienced Landlords and at least (if there is one) an MP with common sense and the cojones to robustly disagree with most of the crowd pleasing quotes from Polly (put the kettle on) Neate.

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    They are truly moronic 🤔 evidence means nothing to them 🆘

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    The Shelter organisation's aims is to provide a very comfortable living for their management. It is not about helping the homeless, that is just the front to screw cash out of the gullible.

     
  • Fery  Lavassani

    Abolish Section 21 + Open Ended Tenancies + Rent Control = Sitting Tenants. Back to Rent Acts 1977.

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    A simple way of bringing rents down for tenants is to abolish licensing. Many landlords pass the licensing costs on to tenants.

    Also when there is additional licensing in a area many landlords will not let two double bedroom flats to three or four tenants; they will only let to two tenants. It is obvious that the tenants will have more rent to pay per head in those circumstances.

    I believe that this affects the amount of local housing allowance too - two sharers claming local housing allowance would not be entitled to enough money to cover the rent of virtually all two bedroom flats - they would each be entitled to the "shared accommodation rate". However, two couples, with each couple, occupying a bedroom - or a single person and a couple occupying two bedrooms - would be entitled to "the two bedroom rate" which is more than the rent of some two bedroom flats.

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    I think anyone renting and getting housing allowance and other benefits should consider themselves grateful for the free help. Just because I am a home owner I get no help at all, is that fair?

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    This is Shelter drumming up business with suggested policies that turn tenants into the homeless.

  • George Dawes

    Simply
    Hopeless
    Empty headed
    Lefty airheads
    Total incompetence
    Equals usual useless
    Results

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    Does anyone know exactly how much Shelter is paid and by which government and non government organisations? How much is exactly donated by the public? Is the Shelter agenda linked to government donations and policy? How can Shelter afford to pay their CEO three times the salary of the British Council CEO?

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    John Chart ruminates:

    For Shelter and their acolytes, all private LLs are surely by definition rogue LLs !

    I foresee gradual slide back to the old Rent Acts and pittance rent regulated tenancies.

    The lettings market will then completely dry up and masses will be sleeping in doorways.

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