Posts Tagged ‘housing’

For the past year I’ve been working on the issue of evictions in the UK. This piece in the New Statesman should be the first of several on the topic. It looks at the impact of eviction on a single person and her family.

“Iwona is early. She is always early for appointments, including being interviewed by a journalist. This is no easy task. She is a lone parent and a carer to her mother who both has dementia and uses a wheelchair. Iwona works in a supermarket, volunteers at a local food bank, and is studying part time to become a social worker.”

Read the full article here.

Housing immigration checks introduced in the 2014 Immigration Act are set to be ramped up under the Conservatives. This is a short and quick comment piece written up for the Independent in my day-job capacity soon after the announcement was made. Suffice to say I’m not a fan of the policy.

The Government’s new plan to jail “rogue landlords” for renting out homes to undocumented migrants is an extremely unjust measure for everyone involved in the private housing market. As well as harming undocumented people and needlessly punishing those who rent to them, it will only make help fuel discrimination among landlords and letting agents.”

Read the full article here.

So this isn’t actually something I did as a freelance, and was part of my day job. It sets out and summarises some of the key race inequality issues that are currently found in private renting.

“Fifty years ago, if you had walked around the streets of London looking for digs you’d have seen signs on flats to rent saying ‘No Blacks, No Irish’. Despite continued cases of direct discrimination, racial discrimination in housing is generally now much more complex, nuanced and subtle.”

Read the full article here.

Back in the good old days, renters had security of tenure (i.e. they couldn’t be kicked out without a good reason). Unfortunately, this meant landlords often turned to intimidation and violence to get higher-paying tenants to move in. Peter Rachman was the most famous example of this, and had this practice named after him – ‘Rachmanism’.

So now that landlords can evict tenants without a reason, you would think none of them would bother to do it illegally. Wrong. I contacted councils in London to see what they were doing to tackle illegal eviction, and associated complaints of landlord harassment of tenants.

“Councils in London are failing to enforce the law in private rented housing. According to Freedom of Information requests sent to all London boroughs, Councils in London have dealt with over 9000 cases of illegal eviction, harassment, and mortgage arrears in the past five years. However, many councils take completely different approaches to the problems. Some do not have staff to deal with the issues.”   Take a look at the full investigation on The Rent Book.

This was an article which took a lot of twists and turns to reach the light of day. Suffice to say, if all councils were doing this type of work then illegal evictions would be less common in the UK.

“Councils have been empowered to prosecute landlords and their ‘agents’ for harassment and illegal eviction of tenants since 1977. The Protection from Eviction Act was originally passed to counter the types of ‘landlordism’ associated with the infamous Peter Rachman. Illegal eviction is where “any person unlawfully deprives the residential occupier of any premises of his occupation of the premises or any part thereof, or attempts to do so”.” Read the full article here.

After their dramatic occupation of a two-person housing association flat being rented out for £1700, I interviewed some of the campaigners from Southwark Tenants, who are part of the Let Down Campaign. Read the full article on Open Democracy

Housing in Brazil

Posted: November 21, 2013 in articles, housing
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Continuing my tour of rented housing laws. This time I took at look at Brazil, which is notorious for its Favelas (shanty-towns), but a rising power in the world.

“Last time I looked at how renting works in Germany. This time I thought I’d turn my attention to the Global South, and examine the system in Brazil. According to UN Habitat, in 2010 73% of Brazilians are owner-occupiers, and 18% are tenants (7.8% are ‘shared households’).” Read the full post here.


Here in the UK we haven’t seen as dramatic a rise in repossessions as in the US, where it is a major problem. I interviewed Gayle McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond, for The New Internationalist. Mayor McLaughlin and her City Council are about to start using the ‘power of eminent domain’ (similar to compulsory purchasing orders in the UK) to stop foreclosures. Read the full interview here.


Estate Agents boom

Posted: November 12, 2013 in articles, housing
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I’ve been very busy for the past few weeks, so I’m catching up on posts.

After the announcement that Estate Agents had seen a massive rise in employment, I set my sights on picking apart current housing policy.

“A few months ago, several news organisations announced a “JOBS BOOM” as unemployment dropped from 7.8% to 7.7%. Many of the new jobs created were in estate agents, which grew by nearly 10% in just three months. However, we should be careful of building our economy (again) on the sand castle of the housing market.” Read the full article here.


Tenants’ rights and utilities

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

After my post on water meters I’ve followed up with a related article on other utilities. Take a read over at the Landlord Law Blog