Longer tenancies would be good news for older private renters

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Blog written by Lisabel Miles, volunteer with Age UK London.

In July, the Government announced that it was going to look at how private landlords could be encouraged to offer longer tenancies. It has received over 8,000 responses to its consultation paper.

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Staying safe at home

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Blog written by Joe Oldman, Housing and Transport Policy Manager, Age UK

We know that safe and accessible housing promotes health, wellbeing, and independence and prevents unnecessary injuries, accidents, and deaths. But for many older people, carers and professionals, finding information about different aspects of home safety and accident prevention can mean trawling through numerous websites to find what they need.

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Social housing green paper – good news for older people?

6288745178_5dea300396_zBlog written by Joe Oldman, Housing and Transport Policy Manager, Age UK.

Reaction to the new social housing green paper has been lukewarm. This is because it seems to dash hopes for a significant increase in the supply of new council and housing association homes for people on low incomes. Despite the recent Government announcement of an additional £2bn over 10 years for social housing, the green paper fails to suggest lifting restrictions on local authority borrowing which would make a real difference to increasing the supply of social housing.

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Taking control of retirement housing?

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For most people ‘commonhold’ is an unfamiliar concept. In Australia it’s called the strata system and in the US they use the term condominiums or condos. In the UK, commonhold is still an elusive idea despite legislation designed to promote it (Leasehold and Commonhold Reform Act 2002), which has spectacularly failed to deliver. Since it came into force, a paltry 20 commonhold properties have been created. At the same time there are estimated to be 5 to 6 million residential leasehold premises in England.

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Heatwaves – a hot topic

After such a wet winter, a bit of sun may sound like no bad thing, but people often underestimate the effect of high temperatures on older people: the 2003 heatwave led to an alarming 22 per cent increase in mortality among people 75+ in England and Wales. So I was very pleased to be invited to a roundtable held by the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, as part of their Inquiry into Heatwaves: Adapting to Climate Change.

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What now for sheltered housing?

Photo: Ell Brown (Creative Commons)

The future funding of supported housing was one of the key issues affecting older people that was put on hold during the General Election. The Government proposes to cap housing benefit (Local Housing Allowance) for sheltered and other types of supported accommodation – which could potentially harm vulnerable older people with a loss of services and the eventual closure of some schemes. Continue reading “What now for sheltered housing?”

Tackling excess winter deaths and fuel poverty

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This time last year, the Excess Winter Deaths statistics showed an enormous jump to over 40,000 for the previous winter.    This year, the number returned to its trend line, at 24,300 (including 20,800 amongst the over 65s) in England and Wales during the winter of 2015/16.   But if this lower figure is ‘normal’, it is still a disgraceful situation. Continue reading “Tackling excess winter deaths and fuel poverty”