A collective of activist renter groups has set out a manifesto of what it wants from the winner of next month’s General Election.
Generation Rent, the London Renters Union, ACORN, the New Economics Foundation, Renters’ Rights London and the Tenants Union UK have got together to set out their demands.
They claim that England’s private rented sector is now home to 11m people and one in four families.
More controversially, they claim that one in seven private rented homes is unsafe.
Generation Rent has identified 47 seats in England with a higher than average private renter population and a parliamentary majority of less than 5,000 votes.
In these seats, which include those of Cabinet ministers Robert Buckland (South Swindon), Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) and Alok Sharma (Reading West), private renters could cast the deciding vote.
A statement set out by the collective includes elements from each participating group.
Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, says: “The security of home ownership is closed off to millions of people who cannot save when their wage increases are simply swallowed up by the rent. Private renters are growing older and raising children in insecure, expensive homes, and will be thinking about this on the way to polling stations on 12 December. Any party that wants to run the country must offer renters stable and affordable homes, and this manifesto sets out how to deliver that.”
Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of New Economics Foundation, adds: “Private renting is broken – unaffordable, insecure and often unsafe. This manifesto outlines the policies we need to fix our housing system, and improve conditions for the millions of private renters in the UK. The demand for change on private renting is growing, and the size of the renters vote is hugely influential. Political parties would be foolish to ignore this.”
And Nick Ballard, national organiser of ACORN Community Union comments: “Landlords up and down the country benefit from and contribute to the country's acute housing crisis by restricting access to housing through ever-higher rents. In the absence of rent controls they have monetised the human need for shelter and turned homes into assets. Restricting supply of a universal need at times of crisis is profiteering. This needs to change. The next government must cap rents at 30 per cent of local income, put a stop to the financialisation of housing and create a national database of landlords and rents to ensure decent, dignified and affordable housing for all.”
Finally Amina Gichinga, of London Renters Union says: “Unaffordable rents are leaving people fighting to survive, with little left over for food or other essentials, and are forcing people away from their communities. At this election, the UK’s 11m renters urgently need rent controls so that no one has to pay more than a third of their income on rent. We need a housing system that works for people not profit.”