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Graham Awards


Tenants more likely to vote - is this why rental sector is under attack?

New research may explain why the government and Labour appear to be competing with each other to attack landlords and letting agents.

The study, by AXA Insurance, reveals that future elections are set to be influenced much more powerfully than in the past by tenant votes. 

While 53 per cent of private renters voted in 2017 – a noticeable jump on previous elections - that would rise to 69 per cent if an election was called today, the research claims.


It says “an epidemic of financial anxiety” amongst renters is behind this greater political engagement with 72 per cent claiming they are genuinely anxious - defined as having sleep, relationships or health affected. 

The research claims the single biggest trigger for their anxiety is the inability to save for a deposit for their own home; debts, bills and insecurity of tenure are also cited, although fall some way behind the deposit issue. 

Two thirds of tenants aged under 35 say they are considering cheaper alternatives to renting, chiefly moving back in with their parents. Caretaking an empty property, moving to a non-traditional property like a motor home, and sub-letting were other possible solutions.

Upon being asked about possible political measures to help tenants, rent controls indexed to inflation or average incomes were the single most popular proposal - backed by 69 per cent of those surveyed. 

By contrast, raising taxes for private landlords was favoured most by just eight per cent.

AXA found a muted response to the idea of three year standard tenancies: when asked the length of tenancy agreement they would prefer, most tenants (62 per cent) still opted for a period of one year or less.

In the coming year, half of private renters anticipate making a big life change that will affect their housing – having a baby, moving in with partners, divorcing, or relocating to a different part of the country. 

One in 10 tenants surveyed expect to move to a different part of the UK by this time next year (a figure which triples among London renters), while a similar number expect to move overseas within three years.

Six in 10 renters say they have had to pay the types of fees to landlords and letting agents that the Tenants’ Fees Bill seeks to outlaw - generally speaking fees for starting, ending or renewing a tenancy agreement. 

A quarter of tenants say they have had to pay for having their credit or references checked. 

Less relevant may prove to be the proposal to ban landlords from demanding deposits in excess of six weeks’ rent – only a small minority of tenants (eight per cent) say they have ever had to pay such a large deposit.

  • icon

    Hmmm I wonder how the 54k of households will vote that have been displaced due to landlords selling up thanks to S24. I can't see that ending well for the Tories.


    It's 54k now, how many more before the next election?

  • icon

    Its 6 WEEKS rent as deposit, not 6 months as stated.

  • James B

    All of these policies which are backfiring on tenants are sold on the basis that they are helping, nothing other than desperate efforts to win generation rent voters .

  • icon

    The generation rent voters are being abused here.
    All those involved in complaining about the problems being put in front of them by not only our elected dictators but the opposition has similar ideas to maybe get the generation rent vote to get the other side out.
    Rent needs to go up because tenant fees have been banned.
    Rent needs to go up because of S24.
    Rent needs to go up because demand outstrips supply.
    Rent needs to go up because landlords may be forced to sell to a tenant to avoid CGT and does not want to lose rent in the meantime.
    Come on you lot - get your brains in gear and let the idiot politicians get out said gun and shoot themselves in their own foot.
    The government will do what it damn well pleases and all your demands and rantings will be completely ignored. If it all goes wrong the politicians who wanted and forced these changes, if any, expect to be out of politics at the time when the proverbial poo hits the fan.
    Lesson over (for now).

  • S l
    • S l
    • 12 October 2018 13:10 PM

    the politicians and government are taking the easy way out by targeting landlords. they are avoiding the issues of no money to save for deposit to buy house. its because house value goes up and the government failed to control the price of houses on sale. also the failure to get tenants to save their money for deposit instead of wasting their money wine and dine, getting drunk, going to pubs, movies etc. perhaps deduction on requirement on deposit to get mortgage to buy house? the bankers are rich and can afford it more than landlord. also help tenants get on the house sale. or get school to teach the children on value of money so that they learn to save instead of spending .


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