Recent News

Majority of private landlords to freeze rents this year

The majority of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) will be freezing their rents this year, according to a new survey.

Members of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) told the survey that they would be taking a real terms cut to their incomes by freezing rents in 2013 - as a result of tenants facing real term cuts to their wages. 

Call to regulate PRS to prevent homelessness

Regulation of the private rented sector (PRS) is one of several measures being called for to help end homelessness in England.

Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homelessness charities, has mapped out steps that it believes need to be taken to prevent and tackle homelessness in the face of service cuts and the Government's forthcoming welfare changes. 

Bedroom tax will cost taxpayers more

The coming bedroom tax will end up costing Scottish taxpayers more not less, a housing charity has warned.

Shelter Scotland is now calling on the Scottish Government to make £50m available to protect the country's tenants from the under-occupancy charge which is due in April. 

Taxman slammed for going after innocent landlords

A tax specialist has expressed concern that HMRC, armed with information provided by local authorities, could now be hounding private landlords in an attempt to track down tax dodgers.

Mike Down, of accountancy firm Baker Tilly, said he had seen a copy of a ‘stencilled’ letter sent to one landlord client. The landlord in question had been perfectly compliant about declaring his rental income. The information utilised by HMRC had been supplied by a local council in the west country.

Government backtracks on pensioner bedroom tax

The Department for Work and Pensions has pledged to protect some of the pensioners that could be hit by the bedroom tax.

Inside Housing last week revealed thousands of pensioners could be affected by the bedroom tax - even though the government had previously maintained it would only affect benefit claimants of working age. 

OFT calls for better regulation of lettings market

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has called for better regulation of lettings agents after identifying several consumer protection issues.

An OFT report which analysed almost 4,000 complaints made by renters and landlords found that both groups were concerned about fees levied by agents, poor service and that "surprise" charges were introduced or "drip-fed" once contracts have been signed. 

London council to move hundreds of families out of capital

“The very high housing costs in Camden and across London mean that low-income households will find it increasingly hard to find affordable accommodation if they are not in social housing.

“Sadly however, the scale of the cuts, high private rental costs and lack of available housing in Camden will mean that more people will soon have to consider moving from the borough and in some cases London entirely.” 

Labour Party attacks bedroom tax

Labour’s Stephen Timms, speaking on Radio 4 yesterday, criticised the controversial policy, under which benefit claimants in social housing of working age with spare rooms will have their benefit cut from 1 April.

Mr Timms said: ‘We have argued for the last two years that it would be fine to apply the penalty where people have refused to take smaller accommodation, but to penalise people when there’s nowhere smaller to move to is perverse.’ 

London council housing families in costly hotels

A flagship Conservative council is housing families in hotels costing more than £1,000 a week because it cannot find alternative accommodation.

Figures released by Westminster Council show it has used six hotels where a room for a week costs more than £1,000, with the most expensive, the Royal Eagle Hotel, costing £1,540. 

MPs urged to block housing benefit cut

Plans to cut housing benefit from households if a young adult member of the family is seeking work could increase homelessness, charities have warned.

Government proposals being voted on today could result in an £800 annual cut from housing benefit paid to parents or guardians with a young person aged under 25 who is living at home and seeking work. Current rules make a deduction only if the young person is in employment. 

More private than social tenants in England

For the first time since the 1960's there are more people in England renting from private landlords than from councils or housing associations.

The English Housing Survey for 2011-12 shows that the rising number of private tenants, 3.84 million, outnumbered the 3.8 million in social housing. 

DWP insists universal credit plans are on track

The Department for Work and Pensions has insisted its plans for universal credit are on track - flying in the face of criticism from MPs.

The DWP on Tuesday published its response to a report from the Work and Pensions select committee published in November. The committee warned the government’s timetable for universal credit was ‘ambitious’ and more needs to be done to ensure vulnerable people’s needs are met. 

People sleeping rough rises 31% in two years

The number of people rough sleeping has gone up by 31 per cent in the past two years, according to government statistics released today.

Communities and Local Government department figures show the number of rough sleepers in a single-night snapshot in autumn 2012 was 2,309 up from 1,768 in autumn 2010. This year’s figure was a rise of 6 per cent from autumn 2011’s count of 2,181. 

Increasing numbers of families in private rented sector

The number of households with children in the private rented sector has increased by 103 per cent in the past 10 years, according to a report from a research charity.

Families with children in higher income households were the group with the greatest proportional rise in the Building and Social Housing Foundation’s analysis of data from a variety of sources. 

Boss of failed lettings agency jailed for nine years

The boss of a collapsed letting agency which lost £1.2m of money belonging to over 300 soldiers, including those serving in Afghanistan, has been disqualified for nine years.

Paul Smith, 47, director of Blue Force Property, a letting agency in Hornchurch, Essex, was disqualified following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. 

Weekly benefit cap pilots in funding crisis

The four boroughs forced to trial a £500-a-week benefit cap will spend their whole share of an emergency hardship fund within five months unless they move people to cheaper areas or obtain more funding.

Research by London Councils for Inside Housing reveals the four London boroughs unexpectedly having to trial the government’s £26,000-a-year benefit cap could spend their share of the pot before their peers are affected at all.