Heating, Eating, or Paying Rent?

Figures released by Generation Rent today add to the growing body of evidence that the private rented sector is failing tenants and needs to be reformed. Based on an opinion poll from ComRes, Generation Rent has found that the cost of rents continues to hit too many, with 39% of those polled cutting back on heating due to the cost of rent and a third reducing their spending on food. Affordability also keeps people stuck in private renting when they want to leave. Two thirds of renters say that the main reason they rent is because they cannot afford to buy their own home.


Following recent reports from NUSShelter and Crisis, the figures also show that poor conditions continue to blight the lives of private tenants, despite the high cost of renting. Dampness within their home is ‘unacceptable’ for one in three private renters, yet these problems are often left unresolved by landlords, with 35% of renters saying their landlord is not particularly interested in their living conditions.

Click here to professionalise rental management through a national register of landords 

As 2014 figures place the private rented sector as the second largest housing tenure in England after home ownership, Generation Rent is calling for a broad set of reforms to improve the living situations of millions of private renters. Professional management needs to be introduced into the sector, with a national register of landlords and licensing of letting agents ensuring that renters can expect certain standards, wherever they are and whoever they rent from.

Connected to this must be the improvement in conditions across privately rented housing, where ultimately, Generation Rent is calling for a set of national minimum property standards that must be fulfilled before a property can be rented out. But renters also need security with these improved conditions, so any policy addressing the private rented sector must also include ways to establish longer-term tenancies. While people can still be evicted for no reason with only two months’ notice, private renting will never be the sustainable solution for people wanting to put down roots and become involved in their communities.

As today’s poll shows, though, private renting cannot be fixed without tackling affordability. The high level of rents will continue to affect people’s cost of living until a serious effort is made to build homes across all tenures, including long-term, permanently affordable privately rented housing.

To make these changes, we need to build a national movement that supports renters’ rights. So alongside our policy work, Generation Rent is supporting local renters’ groups to organise in their communities. Click here to find out more about starting a local group and here to sign up for our national campaigns.

Generation Rent Poll

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  • eric
    commented 2014-03-29 18:01:49 +0000
    Paying every adult an unconditional basic income of £11,375 a year can solve the housing crisis.

    It will help reduce house prices, free up existing council and social housing as well as reduce rents.

    Here’s how:

    A BIG Political Party Government will give low interest mortgages for self build houses to anyone on the unconditional basic income.

    On average people currently spend a third of their disposable income on a mortgage.
    A third of the unconditional basic income is £315 a month.

    A repayment mortgage for £78,500 at 1.5% interest ( this is three times as much as the current Bank of England base rate of 0.5% ) would cost £315 a month.

    The average cost of a new build house in the UK is £155,000

    This means 2 people with a joint unconditional basic income of £22,750 could afford the repayments on a £157,000 mortgage to buy a £155,000 self build house.

    These 2 people do not have to be couples.
    This will enable more new houses to be built, in a sort of national housebuilding scheme, without costing the BIG Political Party Government a penny, as the full cost of building each new house will be recouped in mortgage payments, with an additional 1.5% interest as a profit for the Government.

    As more new houses are built, the supply of houses increases. The economic law of supply and demand means that this increase in supply of houses will reduce house prices. This in turn will reduce rents.

    Rents will also be reduced because everyone will have the option of buying a new build with a cheap government “new build mortgage” if rents become too expensive.

    This new build housing glut will also free up existing council and social housing, which will further increase the housing supply, with the resultant effect of keeping house prices and rents low.

    So an unconditional basic income of £11,375 a year for every adult, will not only free up the creativity and inventiveness of each individual, not only meet everyone’s basic needs for food and shelter, but will also enable a massive government house building initiative, without costing the government (tax payer) a penny.

    In fact it will do so while making the government (tax payer) a profit.

    What’s not to like?
  • Daniel Wilson Craw
    published this page in Blog 2014-03-26 08:37:34 +0000