The private rented sector is rising up the political agenda. Three Bills intended to improve the lot of private renters are progressing through Parliament. Read more about those, join the Generation Rent campaign to end ‘no-fault’ evictions and see if you can make savings on your energy bills this Winter.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST UNFAIR EVICTIONS
Scottish Parliament has already passed a law to protect tenants from unfair evictions but in England, the ease with which landlords can evict tenants makes it nearly impossible for renters to feel ‘at home’. That’s why, Generation Rent have launched a campaign, calling on the government to scrap the ‘no-fault eviction’ law.
The campaign wants a notice period longer than the current two months to be enshrined in law. Further, that tenants faced with an unwanted move should be entitled to compensation from their landlord. This would stop landlords from evicting tenants on a whim, as well as reducing homelessness and allowing renters more stability in their lives.
HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION and TENANTS’ RIGHTS
We were well pleased to see that the Bob Blackman’s Homelessness Prevention Bill passed through the Commons unopposed on 28th October.
It wasn’t all good news, though. Between first and second readings, the duty to provide temporary accommodation for 56 days to all people with a local connection but not in priority need was stripped out of the Bill. Councils said this would prove too expensive and would place too much pressure on them. While this surely serves as another grim reminder of George Osborne’s decision to axe the central government grant to councils, it also amply underlines the very high numbers of people threatened with homelessness across England.
The Renters’ Rights’ Bill, introduced in the House of Lords by Baroness Grender, is scheduled to enter the Committee stage (line by line examination) today, Friday 18 November, having passed its Second Reading in June. The Renters’ Rights Bill seeks to provide tenants and prospective tenants with certain rights, including affording access to a local housing authority’s database of bad landlords, an end to certain letting fees and provision for mandatory electrical safety checks.
Another Bill intended to improve the lots of private renters, is expected to have its second reading debate on 20th January. The Housing (Tenants’ Rights) Bill calls for establishment of a Living Rent Commission. The Commission would conduct research into, and provide proposals for, reducing rent levels in the private rented sector, as well as proposing improved terms and conditions for tenants. Further, the Bill requires the Secretary of State to report the recommendations of the Commission to Parliament; to introduce measures to promote long-term tenancies; to establish a mandatory national register of landlords and lettings agents; to prohibit the charging of letting or management agent fees to tenants; and for connected purposes.
ARE YOU GETTING THE BEST DEAL ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS?
As Winter sets in, it’s time to ensure that we’re getting the best possible deal on our energy bills. A recent survey carried out by Money Supermarket, one of the Ofgem-accredited energy price comparison sites, found that at least 18% of renters are not getting best value on their gas or electricity supply.
If your name is on the bill, you are entitled to switch supplier. Even if your landlord pays the bill then passes the cost on to you, it’s worth checking, to see if there’s a cheaper deal available and then, discussing the options with your landlord.
Some landlords and letting agents have arrangements with a ‘preferred’ energy provider, which company might be named in your tenancy agreement as the default supplier. However, if it’s your name is on the bill, you are still free to switch. You should be prepared to switch supply back to the default company at the end of your tenancy, though. Read more >> MoneySupermarket.com
REDBRIDGE MOMENTUM on HOUSING
On Wednesday 23rd November, Redbridge Momentum are talking about housing. I’ll be there, to discuss Renters’ Rights London. A campaigner from Axe The Act is also speaking.
If you live in the borough, do please come along?
Redbridge Central Library,
Clements Rd, Ilford IG1 1EA
23 November from 1930h