Renters and housing justice campaigners from across England have come together to launch a national renter manifesto ahead of the General Election.
Generation Rent has identified 47 seats in England with a higher than average private renter population and a parliamentary majority of less than 5000 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.
Written by Generation Rent, London Renters Union, ACORN, New Economics Foundation, Renters’ Rights London and Tenants Union UK, the manifesto calls for radical reform of private renting and a transformation of the housing system – including the abolition of section 21 evictions, the introduction of rent controls and an end to discrimination of tenants on housing benefit.
“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,” said Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation 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,” he said.
England’s private rented sector is home to 11 million people and one in four families.
The manifesto cites stats showing one in seven private rented homes is unsafe and high rents mean just 63% of private tenants have savings.
“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,” said Miatta Fahnbulleh, Chief Executive, New Economics Foundation.
Nick Ballard, National Organiser of ACORN Community Union said the next government must cap rents at 30% 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.”
Amina Gichinga, of London Renters Union said: “At this election, the UK’s 11 million 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.”