Lunchtime news June 13

A million tenants living in private rented housing are living with the fear of eviction if they compain about poor conditions, according to a report today by Citizens Advice. The report calls for protection against retaliatory eviction. More details are in the next issue of LPW, published next week.

House prices have already reached 10 times earnings – the nightmare scenario predicted last week for England by 2026 – in many rural areas, according to Stuart Burgess, chairman of the Commission for Rural Communities. Speaking ahead of a conference tomorrow, he said prices were already 13 times earnings in areas such as national parks.

Britain’s top 10 housebuilders have enough unused land with planning permission to build 225,000 homes – double their current output, according to a Royal Town Planning Institute research reported in the Financial Times today. RTPI policy director Kelvin MacDonald says in a Guardian article that it is wrong to focus just on the planning reforms as the solution to the housing crisis.

Conservative housing spokeman Michael Gove called for a government apology over the collapse of Move UK, the national mobility scheme for social tenants, in oral questions in the Commons yesterday. Communities secretary Ruth Kelly said she regretted the collapse and would work to develop the choice-based lettings scheme to offer more mobility.

The National Association of Estate Agents has condemned the new timetable for the introduction of home information packs (HIPs) as ‘a shambles’. It wants energy performance certificates should be introduced immediately and the rest of the packs scrapped pending further consultation.