Housing News Digest

RobertThe Tenants' Union Housing News Digest compiles our pick of items from all the latest tenancy and housing media. It is sent every Thursday at 10am. 

Below is the Digest archive from November 2020 onwards. From time to time you will find additional items in the archive that did not make it into the twice weekly Digest email. Earlier archives are here, where you can also find additional digests by other organisations. 

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How to build beautiful social housing

Kiran Moodley
Channel 4 (No paywall)

A lack of decent, affordable homes is one of the most pressing issues facing Britain today, but there are those on a mission to fix it.

The architect Peter Barber has been winning awards, and admirers, for turning tiny patches of land into innovative estates designed not just to be beautiful – but to foster a sense of community.


# Must read, Video International, Public-and-community-housing.

Why should tenant unions look to labor law?

Greg Baltz, Shakeer Rahman
LPE Project (No paywall)

With tenant organizing on the rise across the United States, legal scholars have been drawn to the idea that tenant unions, backed by the right legislative framework, could serve a function akin to labor unions. Kate Andrias and Benjamin Sachs helped start the conversation by exploring how law could enable tenant unions, among other mass-membership organizations, to build countervailing power among the poor and working class. John Whitlow then explored how a tenant collective bargaining framework could increase countervailing power against financialized landlords. More recently, Duncan Kennedy, Karl Klare, and Michael Turk have put forward a proposal to strengthen tenant unionism through the creation of government agencies that would supervise collective bargaining with landlords, what they call “A Wagner Act for Tenant Unions.”


# International, Campaigns and law reform, Strong communities.

‘The leadership we need’: Humza Yousaf confirms plans for rent controls in Scotland

Liam Geraghty
The Big Issue (UK) (No paywall)

Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf has pledged to introduce rent controls to cap record-high rents in Scotland.

Speaking at Tuesday’s (5 September) Programme for Government announcement, Yousaf pledged to intervene to tackle soaring rents.

Private rents across the UK have been running at record highs and the most recent measure from the Office for National Statistics found rents increased by 5.7% in Scotland in the year up to July 2023.


# Hot topic International, Rent.

The Big City Where Housing Is Still Affordable

Binyamin Appelbaum
The New York Times (No paywall)

Yuta Yamasaki and his wife moved from southern Japan to Tokyo a decade ago because job prospects were better in the big city. They now have three sons — ages 10, 8 and 6 — and they are looking for a larger place to live. But Mr. Yamasaki, who runs a gelato shop, and his wife, a child-care worker, aren’t planning to move far. They are confident they can find an affordable three-bedroom apartment in their own neighborhood.


# International, Rent, Planning and development.

Over 40,000 eviction notices have gone out in L.A. this year, many to upscale apartments

Liam Dillon, Terry Castleman, Paloma Esquivel
Los Angeles Times (No paywall)

At Promenade Towers, a Bunker Hill apartment complex with 611 units that bills itself as “an urban oasis in the heart of downtown,” tenants received 371 eviction notices from late January through July.

At 1600 Vine, a Hollywood building with 375 units that’s been known for attracting social media influencers who have posted from its balconies and manicured courtyard, 313 notices were issued in that period.


# International, Eviction.

New lawsuit alleges price-fixing at Seattle-area apartment buildings

Heidi Groover
The Seattle Times (No paywall)

Once again, large property management firms across the country are facing allegations that their use of rental pricing software amounts to illegal price-fixing that drives up costs for tenants.

Attorneys filed an antitrust lawsuit Friday on behalf of a Seattle renter alleging that 18 property managers across the country use a software known as RENTmaximizer from the California company Yardi Systems to trade otherwise private information and inflate rents. The claims are similar to those filed against another software company, RealPage, late last year.


# Legal significance International, Rent.

Council to buy homes off landlords to tackle eviction rates

Madeleine Ross
The Telegraph (UK) (No paywall)

A London council will buy homes from landlords evicting tenants in order to stop families becoming homeless.

Newham Council has allocated an initial £20m to a preventative scheme, which aims to allow renters to stay in their homes rather than becoming a further drain on homelessness services.

It expects to buy up to 44 properties at £450,000 each, including refurbishment costs, with the first round of funding.


# Must read, New policy announcement International, Eviction, Public-and-community-housing.

The End of Airbnb in New York

Amanda Hoover
Wired (No paywall)

THOUSANDS OF AIRBNBS and short-term rentals are about to be wiped off the map in New York City.

Local Law 18, which came into force Tuesday, is so strict it doesn’t just limit how Airbnb operates in the city—it almost bans it entirely for many guests and hosts. From now on, all short-term rental hosts in New York must register with the city, and only those who live in the place they’re renting—and are present when someone is staying—can qualify. And people can only have two guests.


# Must read International, Short-term holiday letting.

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