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Pickles slammed for 'inhumane treatment' of Gypsies & Travellers

27th November 2014

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has been slammed for his "inhumane treatment" of Gypsies & Travellers in Britain and across London. Labour representatives Lucy Anderson MEP and Tom Copley of the London Assembly have claimed that new legislative proposals from Pickles' will take away fundamental human rights from Gypsies & Travellers by insisting that those who live in a fixed residence - whether out of choice or because of reasons of health, education or old age - will permanently lose thei...

'Government backs rip-off letting agents'

25th November 2014

The government has voted to continue to allow private renters to be charged extortionate fees by letting agents, tenant campaign group Generation Rent has claimed. During a House of Lords debate last night, peers voted against amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants and evictions for tenants who have complaints upheld by their local authority. The amendments would also have required letting agents to insure rent money held on be...

Opinion: Right to buy belongs in the 80s

25th November 2014

By Gary Orr, chief executive, Yarlington Housing Group The ZX Spectrum, the Casio Cassette Player, Big Hair & Shoulder Pads, JR Ewing, Right-to-Buy, Culture Club, Fax Machines; yes it’s 1980s Britain. Whilst fashions come and go and products serve a purpose for a time, RTB remains with us, largely unchanged.  From its introduction, it was never really a surprise that the policy would divide views… but if we place RTB within todays housing crisis, it’s truly hard (fr...

Exclusive: Immigration minister James Brokenshire on new rules requiring landlords to check tenants' right to be in the UK

24th November 2014

By Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire When we don’t have firm - but fair - controls on immigration, everyone suffers. Uncontrolled immigration creates pressure on local services, on wage levels and on community cohesion. That’s why we introduced the Immigration Act - to make the UK a less attractive place for illegal immigrants by restricting their access to public services and making it easier for us to remove them from the UK. The Act, which became law earlier t...

Council urges MPs to take action against 'revenge evictions'

21st November 2014

Camden Council is calling on MPs to stop landlords from evicting renters unfairly by voting for the Tenancies (Reform) Bill next week. The Bill has come about in response to the more than 200,000 renters who were evicted or served notice in the last year after reporting poor property conditions to their landlord. If passed, the Bill will prevent landlords from serving an eviction notice on their tenants for six months if councils find their property’s living conditions need improving. The ...

Council to fill housing void left by right to buy sales

21st November 2014

A council that has lost nearly 200 of its homes to the controversial right to buy (RTB) policy in the last two years has announced plans for a large housebuilding programme to fill the void. Since 2012, when the Tory-led coalition massively increased the discounts available for tenants that want to buy their social homes, Stevenage Borough council has seen 185 of its properties lost to RTB sales. Reacting to the loss the council this week laid out plans to build 1,900 new homes, around 550 of th...

Almost entire country clueless about government's rental redress schemes

21st November 2014

Only 0.5% of us are aware of the three redress schemes the government brought in last month to protect the UK's 3.9 million renters. A survey by sales and lettings firm KIS found that 99.5% of people hadn't heard of the letting agent redress schemes, which are designed to hold lettings agents who give tenants and leaseholders a poor deal to account. Since the start of October, letting agents have been required to sign up to one of the three government-approved schemes designed to give renters ...

Opinion: Managing right to buy

20th November 2014

By Jonathan Lawn, head of communications, Phoenix Community Housing “SOLD this wk under #righttobuy, 1-bed flat BR1, rent was £89, 15 years tenancy, valued £146k, discount £102.7k, sold £43.3k #rtbdebate” Since October we’ve been weeting these details of every RTB sale of our homes. Using the hashtag #rtbdebate, we’re asking one simple question: Can we hope to replace homes sold through RTB with new social housing, on a one-to-one basis? We thin...

Bedroom tax facing High Court battle over panic rooms

19th November 2014

Lawyers will today argue that the government's controversial bedroom tax should not apply to 'spare rooms' that have been turned into panic rooms. The High Court will hear a judicial review challenge from a woman and her son who have been hit by the under occupancy policy even though the so-called 'spare room' in their three-bed social home has become a safe refuge to protect in the event of an attack by an violent ex-partner. Department for Work and Pensions boss Iain Duncan Smith claims that the ...

Opinion: Exchange Policy- How can I get my money back?

17th November 2014

The prolific Rob Gershon explores how the Policy Exchange report on the dubiously titled 'Free Housing Associations' could be improved still further to provide even more remarkable and exciting ways of providing the homes we need.  The recent report from think tank Policy Exchange reflects the desires of 15 London housing associations to free themselves from the shackles of government regulation and the inconvenience of tenants as they seek to found a future where they can build dozens of n...