With the news that private renters could hold the deciding vote in 86 seats at next year's election, political parties are realising that they need to win them over.
First to make a move is Labour, whose leader, Ed Miliband, will announce plans on Thursday to introduce new laws to:
- extend the standard length of a tenancy to 3 years
- ban letting agent fees
- cap rent rises
We're very pleased with these plans, which will finally start to prise away the grip that landlords have over the lives of the country's 9 million renters.
No longer will families be forced to move their children out of a home they've grown up in by a landlord who decides to raise the rent.
No longer will young workers be slapped with spurious admin fees for a new tenancy.
And no longer will a renter with a broken washing machine or boiler fear requesting repairs because of the threat of retaliatory eviction.
Renters are too often made to feel like inconvenient guests in someone else's home. If these changes are made, renters be able to make the building they live in their home and the street they live in their community, which will radically change how it feels to rent privately.
We are looking forward to seeing the detail when it comes out, but this change of direction has been long overdue, and we hope it sets a benchmark for the government as it develops its Model Tenancy Agreement.
With Labour's opening bid for 9 million private renters' votes on the table, it's now up to the other parties to decide whether they too will court renters and how they will beat Labour's offer.