One million renters could miss out on their vote

Are you one of the 1 million private renters who could miss out on your vote on 4 July? 

If you’re one of the 70% of private renters who have moved home since 2019, you have until midnight tomorrow to register to vote with your current address details. The process takes just 5 minutes. 

We estimate that there were 6.8 million eligible voters living in private rented homes at the 2021 Census, based on age and passport status. The latest British Election Study, carried out in May 2023, found that 6.7% of private renters were not registered at all, amounting to 455,000 voters. A further 8.1% were registered at a different address – equivalent to 548,000 voters. This amounts to 1.003m voters who may not be able to vote on 4 July if not correctly registered (and does not include people who responded “don’t know” to the BES). 

Private renters are at a disadvantage in the electoral system. Short tenancies and frequent moves mean it is easy for private renters to inadvertently drop off the electoral register between elections. The English Housing Survey 2021-22 found that 70% of private renters had been in their current home for less than five years. 

Our analysis of the most recent electoral registration data finds that some of the biggest drops in registration have been in areas with large private renter populations. Among 107 constituencies with private renter populations of 25% or more, the number of people on the electoral register has fallen since the 2019 General Election by an average of 5.4%. Among 426 seats with private renter populations smaller than 25%, the electoral roll has shrunk by an average of 1.6%. 

Private renters have been contending in recent years with rapidly increasing rents, elevated levels of no-fault evictions and stubbornly poor standards. The Renters Reform Bill, which would have addressed some of this, faced slow progress at Westminster and was dropped at the end of the Parliament.

Polling by Opinium commissioned by us found that:


      • Two-thirds (64%) of private renters think the state of renting is going to get worse in the next few years

      • However, renters are optimistic about the potential for change. We are more likely to agree with the statement “If a lot of people care about an issue, politicians will overall try their best to do something to solve the issue” (54% saying it was fair compared with 34% saying it was unfair)

      • In the past two years 55% have experienced rent increases, 34% have faced maintenance issues that have not been fixed

      • 30% are experiencing mould in their current homes

      • The policy renters think would be most beneficial for us is limiting how much our landlord can increase their rent (55%)

    Generation Rent is running a campaign to increase voter registration among renters ahead of the deadline tomorrow. The campaign involves direct mail, digital advertising and local street stalls in partnership with community union ACORN.

    In less than one week since the campaign was launched, we estimate that tens of thousands of renters have registered to vote. A further increase is predicted before the deadline when democracy campaigns aim to see hundreds of thousands of people register to vote daily. With the housing crisis raging, the election is a huge opportunity for renters to use our democratic voice to call for better renting. But renters are at a disadvantage, compared with landlords, as frequent moves make it easier for us to fall off the register and miss out on voting.

    We have a few weeks left to decide who gets our vote, but we will miss this opportunity if we don’t have a ballot paper on 4 July. We urge anyone who has moved home since the last General Election to make sure they’re registered to vote by tomorrow night.

    As well as analysis of the 2021 Census, first published in November 2023, sources used for our analysis are:


        1. EHS 2021-22 Private Rented Sector report, Annex Table 3.1 – proportion of private renters who have lived in their current home for 4 years or less

        1. ONS Electoral Statistics, December 2023

        1. Wave 25 of the 2014-2023 British Election Study Internet Panel, May 2023 (N = 30,407), Fieldhouse, E., J. Green, G. Evans, J. Mellon, C. Prosser & J. Bailey (2023) British Election Study Internet Panel Waves 1-25. DOI: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-8202-2

      A summary of this data and analysis for points 2 and 3 is available here

      If you have not registered to vote, please click the button below. The deadline for doing so is tomorrow at midnight. 


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      Individual Advice

      Generation Rent can’t offer advice about individual problems. Here are a few organisations that can:

      You might also find quick but informal help on ACORN’s Facebook forum, and there are more suggestions on The Renters Guide.