Guest blog from Stephen Battersby: Generation Rent

Generation Rent is the operating name for the National Private Tenants Organisation.  This was established a couple of years ago, but in 2013 secured funding from a charitable trust and established a new board and started to recruit staff for the first time.  This enabled the organisation to help push the problem of private renting further up the political agenda as the number of private renters exceeds that of tenants in social housing.   One of the aims of the organisation is to give tenants a local voice where there is not already a private tenants’ group and to work with those existing groups, which can also be a resource for local authorities.  A Renters’ Manifesto was published in June alongside a paper prepared by Alex Hilton the Director, “Buying out of the Bubble“, which set out policy to create tens of thousands of permanently affordable homes each year with private investment. It requires the creation of a secondary housing market for people who want to pay to live in a home, but not to bear the cost (or enjoy the returns) of property as an investment. It’s based on the principles of Community Land Trusts.  The Manifesto itself contains a number of proposals for the PRS and for the political parties election manifestos. These include reforming ASTs to give longer minimum periods, and longer notice periods for possession – “earned notice”, controlling maximum rents and limiting rent increases. There should be a national register of landlords, more local or social lettings agencies. It is also proposed to make it mandatory to have periodic electrical safety certificate. It is also suggested that there should be fixed penalty notices for allowing a Category 1 hazard under the HHSRS and the use of s.21 notice should be limited where there are serious hazards.  There is also to be a national day of renting at Westminster Central Hall on 4 February 2015.  More information on Generation Rent can be found at http://www.generationrent.org/ and is where supporters can sign up.

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