High rents prevent tenants from enjoying the quality of life they would have in other tenures. On top of this, speculation by landlords in the property market has made it harder for renters to escape high rents, and also takes investment out of productive parts of the economy that might otherwise build homes or create jobs.
While the government has reformed the tax system to discourage speculation, there remains an urgent need for investment in house building that would reduce private rents and ensure that more homes are affordable to people on low incomes.
We have proposed a number of initiatives that could help build affordable homes and fund them:
- A secondary housing market where new homes are sold at cost price on the condition that they become part of a regulated market of controlled rents and limited house price increases.
- A levy on landlords to recoup the billions of pounds of housing benefit they receive. This money could then fund new social homes.
- Local flexible rent caps where landlords can opt out as long as they pay some of their rent charged above the cap into a local social housing fund.
Alongside rents, other housing-related costs such as energy bills add to the burden on many renters. Fuel poverty affects 1 in 5 private renters - that means that the cost of heating their home adequately would pull them below the poverty line. The most effective way of combating fuel poverty is to make energy efficiency improvements to homes typically occupied by those on low incomes, many of whom are in the private rented sector. Generation Rent works with the End Fuel Poverty Coalition to campaign for government action on this.
The cost of moving can also be made cheaper. Banning letting agent fees to tenants would lower the cost of moving, making the lettings market more efficient and forcing agents to compete for landlords' business instead of creaming off fees from captured tenants. (READ MORE)