Shelter is calling for permanent tenancies to become the legal minimum norm for all private renters.
A social housing commission set up by Shelter also wants to see some form of rent controls, plus a new consumer regulator, similar to the Financial Conduct Authority, which will register, monitor and enforce social and private landlords which have over 25 homes.
Its report says: “Social renters are more protected from eviction but they face stigma and indifference – and their complaints go nowhere.
“Too many private renters are stuck in insecure, unaffordable tenancies, too frightened to complain about poor conditions or rent increases for fear of eviction.”
The calls come in Building for our future: A vision for social housing which makes 23 recommendations designed to shake up the social and private rented sectors.
The report says: “Unless we act now, we face a future in which a generation of young families will be trapped renting privately for their whole lives, where more and more people will grow old in private rentals, where billions more in welfare costs will be paid to private landlords – and hundreds of thousands more people will be forced into homelessness.”
Its recommendations include building 3.1m more social homes over a 20-year programme at a cost of £10.7bn a year.
It claims that two-thirds of the cost could be clawed back through housing benefit savings and extra tax revenue, and that the programme would pay for itself after 39 years.
It says that new social housing should be part of ‘tenure-blind’ mixed developments.
Shelter set up the commission after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The commission gathered views from 31,000 people and found that “by a very long way, most people thought the biggest issue facing social housing is that there is not enough of it”.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Providing quality and fair social housing is a priority for this Government.”
The reforms that the Shelter commission wants to see in private renting are:
- All private landlords with over 25 homes would have to register with a new consumer regulator
- This body would set consumer standards for all private rented housing
- The Government should increase resources for local enforcement to tackle bad landlords and poor housing conditions, in line with the growth in the number of households renting privately
- The Government should end Section 21 – so-called no fault eviction, so that permanent tenancies are the legal minimum for all private renters
- Private renters should be protected from above-market rent increases and the Government should make available information on rent prices for different property types at local government ward level