Kill the Housing Bill campaign update…
The Housing and Planning Bill is now the Housing and Plannng Act.
The ‘Kill the Housing Bill’ campaign, an alliance of tenants of all tenures, trade unionists, politicians and housing activists, has now agreed to rename itself ‘Axe the Housing Act’. The focus of the campaign will be building a national network of local groups committed to raising awareness of the threat and uniting opposition to it.
There will be a second national demonstration on the:
18th of June assembling at 12 noon from Hyde Park corner London.
The Act limped through Parliament 12 May (read Act here ), but will not be in force till April 2017; much of its detail is not yet agreed. Most people still don’t know about the end of building homes for rent, sell offs of council homes, pay to stay tenant tax, de-regulation of housing associations, failure to control private rents, and make it easier to demolish and clear estates.
Living Rent at the Kill the Bill protest at Westminster last Tuesday when the bill went back to MP’s to vote on amendments from the Lords…..
Unfortunately MPs voted to reject 13 amendments to the Housing Bill demanded by the House of Lords. They backed higher rents for people with a household income of £31,000 or more (£40,000 in London) and plans to make councils sell “high value” homes to pay off the deficit…
We will continue to lobby MP’s and Lords. If we all lobby them we have a chance to kill the housing bill!
Information on future protests organised by Kill the Bill campaign.
At the ‘Housing in Crisis’ meeting, we agreed to work together to fight against the decimation of social housing, soaring private rents and homelessness.
We know there are plenty of solutions to the problems but so far no political will. There is a determination to sell off what is left of social housing and an obsession with home ownership, most of which is beyond the reach of ordinary people.
Please come along on Wednesday and bring your ideas for a plan of action.
Living Rent meeting
Wednesday 4th of May at 7.30
The Edge Community Centre
83 Pankhurst Avenue
Fighting the Housing Bill – meeting in parliament Tuesday 3rd May
Write to MPs and Lords – 3 May to oppose the Housing Bill and attend the Kill the Housing Bill meeting in parliament on 3rd May. For details of this and other Kill-the-Bill events, throughout May and June check out Defend Council Housing website.
Tuesday 26th April
The Bevy Community Pub
With speakers from:
Love Activists Brighton
Living Rent Campaign
Defend Council Housing
Our housing rights are under attack – now more than ever before.
Over the past decades we have faced sky-high house prices, soaring rents
and now the social cleansing of our cities, with benefits for those in need capped and cut. There is less and less help for the increasing number who find themselves homeless. Deaths on the streets are becoming commonplace.
Why is it happening? And what can we do about it? Join in the discussion.
Meeting organised by Left Unity
TO: MINISTER OF STATE FOR HOUSING AND PLANNING. BRANDON LEWIS MP
The Housing Bill will take away public funding from affordable homes for rent, instead funneling money into ‘Starter Homes’ that only the rich can afford. It will make it easier for private landlords to evict renters, and do nothing to control private rents.
The bill will also force cash-strapped councils to hand over millions of pounds to housing associations to allow them to sell their properties cheaply, and replace secure tenancies with ones as short as 2 years
Social housing has been the bedrock of many communities for the past 70 years. It pays for itself and 30 years ago provided homes to one in three British people, allowing people and communities to thrive. We are not against people buying a home, but this must not be at the expense of social housing for those who can’t afford to buy.
For more information on this campaign and petition go to Defend Council Housing
You can also write to the House of Lords where the bill is being debated now
Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16
Brighton & Hove City Council has set up a Fairness Commission looking at various areas of public life of which housing is one of the biggest issues.
The Living Rent Campaign has submitted our concerns and proposed solutions. Read the full submission here
Here are the main points:
Understanding the problem in general
- Power and control for landlords: The current regulation structures provide power and control for landlords and buy to let lending banks. The conditions of these buy to let mortgages limit tenancy length and 99% of tenancies are not subject to rent control of any kind.
- Maximising profits: Many banks make conditions on loans that force landlords to use 6 month or 12 month tenancies as well reject tenants who are in receipt of benefits. The only factor that could help this “free market” approach would be an over supply of homes, but it is in the interest of developers to maintain a shortage so house prices remain high and profits are greater.
- High Rents– In Brighton and Hove the average rent for a one bed flat is £867 per month (Home move- Oct 2014) Over 20,000 are on the waiting list for council accommodation. More recently Homelets (Jan 2016) claim that there has been an 18% increase in rents for new lettings over the last year- the largest in the country
- Insecurity– Many people in private renting constantly have to move disrupting schools and the ability to put down roots. The average tenancy lasts 3 years.
- Poor quality housing: In Brighton and Hove despite high rents 37 % of private rented properties fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard
- Loss of public housing: Across the country, since 1980, through the Right to Buy over 1.5 publicly owned million homes have been lost for meeting need and many of these homes are now rented privately (estimated at 38% (10))
- Since 1997 1,342 homes have been sold under the right to buy in Brighton and Hove
- Affordability: “The assessment of affordable housing need report (2012) identified 88,000 households (72%) in Brighton and Hove who cannot afford to (either buy or rent) without some kind of subsidy or spending a disproportionate level of their income on housing costs (9)”
- Loss of public housing: Over a million (probably around 1.5 million) council homes have been sold to housing associations, which are now raising funds by increasing rents on re-lets from social to up to 80% of the market rate (so called “affordable” rents)
- Each year about £9.7 billion public funds subsidise private landlords in the form of housing benefit. It is better to have lower rents and use the saved benefit subsidy to support building truly affordable new homes
- Nationally 30 % of private rented homes fail the decency standard.
- Such large profits can be made from private renting that it is attracting landlords seeking to maximise investments.
- Inequalities are growing as the gap widens between homeowners (who have a growing capital asset that more than 50% of homeowners now own outright) and renters many of whom cannot save, go out and are trapped as a huge proportion of their earning swallowed up in rent
- Overcrowding is increasing as rents rocket, more and more people are forced to share space; in the 19th century families lived in single rooms and if unchecked for long enough this could happen in our lifetimes.
Clearly the relatively lightly regulated “market” has failed all but the landlords and property developers. Clearly also national policies focused on subsidising rents rather than investing in building new homes have exacerbated the problems of under-supply and affordability
With an 18% increase in rents since 2014 rent regulations need to be implemented. This high rate of rent rise has caught the headlines, and The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 broadcasted their piece on 22nd January at 10pm. Did you hear it? If not, here’s the audio clip…