I just want to feel that this is my home - Katie's story
Generation Rent supporter Katie tells us about the impossibility of making their house into a home in the current private rental market.
Licensing schemes protect tenants - so let's do more
The licensing of rented properties makes it much easier for tenants to enforce their rights. It also helps to tackle criminal landlords.
You may have more protections than you think
The ban on most evictions was lifted this week and the notice period on Section 21 evictions has been reduced from 6 months to 4 months. But if your landlord has failed to provide you with certain documents you could be protected from eviction - up to three quarters of renters, according to our latest research.
Our new research has also revealed the lack of knowledge about rights among private renters, which the first Renters' Rights Awareness Week, taking place on 14-20 June, aims to change.
What are the main parties offering renters in Wales
Today (6th May) voters in Wales will elect 60 members of the Welsh Parliament (Senedd). We have published a manifesto here.
What we're demanding
Renting in Wales needs to be safer, fairer and more secure. Welsh renters can still be evicted for no reason, they need more stability and an end to Section 21 'no fault' evictions. There also needs to be tougher penalties for landlords who break the law. Wales now has a national register of landlords, however, there are still improvements that could be made to protect renters from criminals. Renters in Wales remain vulnerable to rent increases. Even though these can technically be challenged through the Rent Assessment Committee, only three did this in 2019/20. This must change.
What are mayoral candidates offering renters in city regions?
On Thursday, eight city regions elect a Metro Mayor. We have published two manifestos:
- A manifesto for London, which contains 1m private renter households and has had a Mayor for 20 years
- A manifesto for the rest of England. Between them, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Greater Liverpool, West of England, Cambridge and Peterborough, West Yorkshire and Tees Valley contain around 750,000 private renter households and where the office of Mayor is still relatively new (completely new in the case of West Yorkshire).
Three quarters of tenants in unsafe homes go unprotected
Renters rely on Councils to stand up for them against criminal landlords. When facing dangerous living conditions, mould, damp or disrepair, Councils should step in and force landlords to make their properties legal. However, our new research has revealed that 75% of tenants in unsafe homes go unprotected.
Evictions are hard to stop - even when they're illegal
Although landlords don't need a reason to evict you in England and Wales, they must still follow certain rules. If you don't move out after your notice period ends, the landlord must apply for a possession order in court, then only bailiffs appointed by the court can physically remove you from your home.
If the landlord tries to evict you themselves, it's a criminal offence under the 1977 Protection from Eviction Act. That includes changing the locks, dumping your belongings outside, cutting off the electricity or water supply and other types of harassment. The penalties include paying back up to a year's rent.
Making homes safe and secure in Scotland
As Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday 6 May, we have published our manifesto of policies the next government in Holyrood must adopt to create a fairer rental market.
In recent years Scottish renters have gained a number of new protections, which are currently denied to private tenants in England and Wales. Landlords can no longer evict tenants without a reason, which provides some security, but tenants are still vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases and loopholes that allow landlords ways around this legislation.
Making homes safe and secure in Wales
Private renters in Wales have a rough deal. Landlords can evict without needing a reason, meaning no security over your home, and little confidence to request repairs and improvements. For landlords who break the law, the penalties are not much of a deterrent.
What's worse is that the Welsh government is falling behind other parts of Britain - they do not propose to end evictions without reason (Section 173) as the government in Westminster has promised renters in England.
Generation Rent has published its manifesto for the next Welsh Parliament, which is being elected on Thursday 6 May.
700,000 renters hit with unfair eviction notices during pandemic
One in 12 private renters has been given notice to move out without a reason since March 2020, a new poll by Survation reveals today.
The survey, commissioned by us, indicates that as many as 694,000 private tenants have been served with a Section 21 notice during the pandemic, which allows landlords to evict tenants without needing a reason.
The survey also found that one in three private renters fears that they will lose their home in the year ahead – which represents nearly 3 million adults in England.
Londoners need a Mayor for Rent Controls
Paying more than a third of your income in rent is considered unaffordable. However, rent on a typical two-bedroom home costs some 45% of a full-time salary in London, analysis by Generation Rent finds today.
Moreover, private renters in nine London boroughs face paying half of their income or more on rent.
London's skyrocketing rents are pushing families into poverty and financial stress, and making it harder to save or to start a family.
The dangers women face as private renters
Content Warning: Sexual violence and Rape
Click here to sign our petition to call on the House of Lords to support amendments that take action against sex for rent.
The Sarah Everard case and Clapham Common vigil earlier this month have once again brought the ugly realities of violence, and especially sexual violence, towards women, to the foreground. These attacks on and manipulations of women cut through every part of our society, including the private rental market. This can perhaps most clearly be seen in the crime of Sex for Rent, which sheds a light on the depths of exploitation women face in every facet of their lives.
Rishi Sunak has missed an opportunity to end the Rent Debt Crisis
The Government has failed to bring in measures that would end the Rent Debt Crisis. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set aside no additional funding in yesterday's Budget to pay off rent arrears accrued under the pandemic, or to increase Local Housing Allowance to cover actual rents.
Heat our homes, not the planet!
Two thirds of private renters need much stronger energy efficiency standards if they are to enjoy warmer homes that are affordable to heat and free of damp and mould. That's what our latest research with the Generation Rent Renters' Panel finds.
Installing insulation and other improvements improves a property's value but landlords are leaving their tenants to put up with cold and draughty homes. Even the £5000 Green Homes Grant the government introduced in September has not nudged landlords into action.
As well as higher legal standards, tenants need incentives to demand improvements. Right now many don’t know if they will stay long enough to benefit from improvements and worry that their landlord would raise the rent if they made improvements. Tenancy reform is needed to give renters confidence to ask for improvements, and the ability to claim back rent if their landlord leaves them with an inefficient home.
Chancellor must set up a Covid Rent Debt Fund
Coronavirus has seen one in three private renters lose income, and Universal Credit is nowhere near enough to cover average rents. As a result half a million households are now in rent arrears of £730 on average, according to Citizens Advice.
We are calling on Rishi Sunak to use his Budget next month to create a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear rent arrears and keep renters in their homes.
Section 21 evictions forever hang over me - Anna's Story
Generation Rent supporter Anna tells her story of renting while Section 21 'no fault' evictions continue.
I have been renting my studio flat for about two and a half years. I received my first Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice in the summer of 2019, but it turned out to be invalid because the property lacked a mandatory license.
I received my second Section 21 notice in the middle of March last year, shortly before the UK went into lockdown. For me, the timing of this turned out to be fortuitous, because the accompanying eviction ban meant that my landlady didn’t have a chance to apply to the courts before the expiration of the notice. Despite the difficulties and reduced work hours that the series of lockdowns have caused me, the relative housing security the government afforded renters has been the silver lining.
Government research finds half a million private renters struggling
Last month we estimated that 538,000 private renter households had a shortfall between their Local Housing Allowance and the rent they owed.
Now the government's own survey has backed that up - it found 569,000 private renter households were behind on rent or at risk of arrears this summer.
The Ministry of Housing's Household Resilience Study, published today, has revealed the extent of the government's failings in supporting private renters through the pandemic.
What the NRLA has to say about mould
It is winter, so, like clockwork, mould is sprouting on renters' walls and, in response, letting agents are dishing out spurious advice like this:
Our letting agent sent us this letter, to remind us that “lifestyle activities” such as “breathing” may be the cause of condensation in our home. 🙃🙃🙃 pic.twitter.com/U0zgSCbGGY— Lucy Mort (@Lucyhbmort) November 17, 2020
More responsible landlords will look to their professional bodies for guidance to improve their tenants' living conditions. The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) are sharing this factsheet with its members to pass on to renters who are complaining about condensation, damp and mould.
We decided to take a look - and found that it is unfortunately little better than the cowboys' efforts.
We're being evicted for no reason - Irene and Jack's story
My husband and I have had an assured shorthold tenancy since 1997. I’m 65 years of age and my husband is 69. Over the years we have had to carry out repairs to the property ourselves which we have been prepared to do. Since December 2019, our landlord has been continually harassing us, removing our boundary fences and hedges, while we were away prior to lockdown. He has taken control of our garden, leaving us without any privacy whatsoever.
We used to have dogs that enjoyed the freedom of the garden but they have sadly passed away. We cannot get another dog as we wouldn’t be able to keep it contained within the garden. In fact, we now get other neighbours’ dogs and foxes coming into our property and there is nothing to stop them.
Our landlord is also removing our driveway and has left the edges in an unsafe state causing us to suffer twisted ankles and injuries when we take rubbish to our bins. One Saturday afternoon in June our landlord and his son demolished our own shed and greenhouse while our possessions were still in them. They had been in place the whole time we’ve lived here and were put there with his permission.
Everything has been done completely unannounced and behind our backs and seems to have been done to drive us out of the property.
Broken benefits system leaves renters footing the bill for coronavirus
Half a million private renter households are losing £53m a month because the benefits system is failing to cover their rent. That is the shocking finding from our latest report on the impact of coronavirus on private renters.
Between February and August the number of private renters claiming benefits increased by 36% - or 507,000 households.
Two in five private renters (42%) – 1.9m households – now rely on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit to pay their rent, but miserly benefit rates mean that 538,000 households can’t cover their rent.
Half of all private renting families now rely on benefits to pay the rent
The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on families living in private rented homes. Over half are now reliant on benefits to pay the rent – including 1.82 million children. That’s an increase of 23% since February.
Yet, one in five families renting from a private landlord currently receive less in benefits than they need to pay their rent, our research has found. This leaves 378,000 families in England with a shortfall. More disturbingly, this figure includes 750,000 children living in households with this shortfall.
It just got easier to tackle criminal landlords in London
- It is estimated that one in seven homes in England is criminally unsafe - but the good news is it just got easier for tenants in London to do something about this. Sadiq Khan has today brought in a tool for renters to check if their home needs a licence.
Local councils are responsible for identifying and putting a stop to criminal landlords. In some cases, tenants can even claim rent back from a landlord who breaks the law.
But councils are not doing much to help renters identify illegal practice and exercise their rights which means that many landlords are getting away with criminal behaviour.
End of furlough puts 341,000 more renters at risk of debt
More than 340,000 private renters in Great Britain work in sectors at risk of lay-offs when the furlough scheme ends. This will add to the numbers of people who cannot cover their rent because housing benefit levels are inadequate, and are at risk of arrears and eviction.
We are calling on the government to raise Local Housing Allowance to cover the median rent so that families do not get into debt and to set up a fund to clear the debts of renters who have already got into serious arrears by compensating landlords up to 80% of the rent owed. We are also calling for fast-track abolition of Section 21 “no fault” evictions to prevent unnecessary hardship now that courts have reopened.
Renting as a family under Section 21 - Laura's Story
It can be difficult to think back on life before the coronavirus lockdown. But even as long ago as the first week in March, we knew we were on the cusp of it. It was during this time, when the lockdown turned from an ‘if’ to a ‘when’, that my family were greeted with a section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice.
Immediately we began searching for a new home, for ourselves and our two children. Unfortunately, it seemed every renter in Solihull had the same idea as us. With each day bringing us closer to a lockdown, the competition to secure a rented property grew fiercer. One day my partner and I walked away from a viewing and past a rival renter, who proceeded to look from the driveway at the outside of the property and say “yeah I’ll take it” before we had even made it to our car.
I can't save as a renter in London - Adam's story
At the end of January 2020, I was made redundant. However, I was given a much appreciated redundancy package with severance pay, and was able to quickly find a new job to move into. That was however before the coronavirus and lockdown was enforced and, at the end of March, I lost this job as well. I was able to temporarily pay my rent and living costs from my original severance pay, but under the unaffordable rent costs in London, these savings soon dwindled away.
In good faith, and in an effort to avoid debt, I contacted my landlord, requesting that, with the allowances property owners had been given by the Government, I could have a rent reduction until I found another job. My request was met with an outright rejection, and I quickly started receiving aggressive letters from my landlord’s solicitors, demanding that I pay the rent in full. This was impossible, and I was forced to terminate my tenancy in London and move away.
Once again, renters are vulnerable to revenge evictions
After six months of no evictions taking place at all, courts have reopened and landlords can resume the legal process of evicting their tenants.
Despite the government's insistence that "the most egregious" cases will be prioritised, tenants can still be booted out without a reason, with no ability to appeal it and only six weeks' grace if they face "extreme hardship".
This is possible because of Section 21, the law that the government promised to abolish last year. Today it is exactly one year since the government closed it's consultation on proposals to change the law, and we are still waiting for it to publish the Renters Reform Bill to make it all happen. Join our campaign to get Section 21 scrapped.
55,000 households left with no protection
The eviction moratorium ends on Sunday, and courts start hearing landlord possession cases again on Monday.
When it extended the ban for one final month, the government also said it would extend the notice period for most evictions from three months to six months (and did the following week). This will help a lot of people, but it doesn't help renters who were served notice up to 29 August and have not already moved out - an estimated 55,000 households.
Struggling renters are running out of options
At the end of August, courts were poised to reopen for eviction cases. Tenants who had been served an eviction notice during lockdown would have been left with no more protection from losing their home.
We continued to push the government to make good on its promise to keep people in their homes. One renter, Nichola, who faces eviction with her two daughters, spoke out and started a petition that got nearly 40,000 signatures. At the eleventh hour, the government announced a one-month extension of the evictions ban until 20th September. It also extended the notice that landlords must now give tenants to six months, as of 29 August.
But the respite will be short-lived. Tenants who have been asked to leave are still facing huge uncertainty. And because so many people have lost income in since the pandemic started, prospects are grim.
Will the Green Homes Grant leave renters out in the cold?
Earlier this month, the Chancellor announced £2bn of funding through a Green Homes Grant to insulate homes. Poor insulation is a huge issue for private renters: one in 10 of us live in a home that is unacceptably cold - that's twice the rate among home owners and social tenants.
But it's not easy to get landlords to make these improvements - landlords have no incentive to reduce energy bills that someone else pays, and tenants have no idea how long they'll live somewhere to benefit from better insulation.
After the eviction ban: what's next?
The Government recently announced a two month extension to the eviction ban. Renters will be able to safely stay in their homes until the end of August, but what happens next?
Lockdown is ending, but the renting crisis is not
The Government’s eviction ban comes to an end in just three weeks. Here’s how you can help protect renters for the duration of this crisis.
Relying on compassion isn't working
The Government have asked landlords to show 'compassion' and work with tenants to accommodate their circumstances, but renters have told us that this is not happening.
How to protect renters affected by coronavirus
The Government must act now.
The pandemic affects us all - but private renters face particular problems. As the situation has escalated, renters have got in touch with us to express concern over self isolating safely in a shared house, and how they will pay their rent if they are forced to stay home, or lose their job. It's not just those who fall ill with coronavirus who are affected - many renters who are self-employed or on zero-hours contracts have already lost work, and many more are nervous about redundancy, unpaid leave or losing hours. Renters spend over 40% of their earnings on rent, and as a result, two thirds of renters have no savings.
How the next mayor can crack down on London's criminal landlords
With candidates for London Mayor starting to set out their pledges, we reveal that half of London’s boroughs did not fine any landlords for letting out unsafe homes in the past year.
The winner of the mayoral election could step up the fight against criminal landlords overnight by letting tenants check online if their home needs and has a licence. An estimated 130,000 private rented homes in London do not have the correct licence, making 1 in 8 private renters eligible for a refund of rent. Those are good odds.
Homes not hotels - what happens next
The damage that Airbnb-style lets is doing to our communities is becoming clearer. Last week, the Guardian revealed that in parts of London, Edinburgh, Devon and the Lake District, one in every four homes is listed as a holiday let.
As we told them, this is depriving communities of much needed homes.
The new Parliament must end the renting crisis
Last night, Boris Johnson won a landslide victory. He must take this opportunity to end the renting crisis.
What's on offer for renters tomorrow?
Tomorrow is polling day! Before you cast your vote, here's a round up of the policies from each party's manifesto on the issues we've been campaigning on since the last election