Our General Election campaign

Whatever way you look at it - this General Election is important. The next Government will be tackling the big issues of the day like Brexit, crime, protecting our NHS and fixing the housing crisis. At this election Generation Rent is getting stuck in.

Why is renting so important at this election?

  • One in five people in the UK rent privately, yet renters are often overlooked by policymakers in favour of homeowners or first-time buyers. 
  • Renting is unaffordable, with renters paying around 40% of their income on rents.
  • In return for high rents, private renters suffer poor conditions and have very little security.
  • One in seven privately rented homes are unsafe, and tenants can be evicted by their landlords with just two months’ notice, even if they have done nothing wrong.

That’s why we are working hard to put renting on the agenda at the election. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  1. We’ve crunched the numbers and there are around 50 seats where renter votes could make a difference - where there are more private renters than the national average and the seat was won in 2017 by less than 5000 votes. It means that renters are powerful - we are a political force to be reckoned with. Renting isn’t working and at this election, we are setting out to make sure every candidate from every party knows how to fix it, no matter who is in 10 Downing Street.
  2. We’ve launched a Renter Manifesto alongside ACORN, London Renters Union, New Economics Foundation, Tenants Union UK and Renters Rights London. It’s a huge document detailing the views of thousands of us on how to fix the renting crisis and make sure renting is safe, fair and secure. Take a look at the Renter Manifesto here
  3. We’re taking our ideas to the candidates. Whether that’s Generation Rent volunteers meeting the candidates face to face, asking questions in their local hustings or emailing them the manifesto directly.
  4. We’re also making the case for renters in the headlines and on the airwaves. We’ve been covered by The I, TalkRadio, BBC 5Live, CityMetric, the Guardian. Generation Rent supporters are talking to journalists about their experiences and why renting isn’t working. 
  5. We’re crunching the numbers to make evidence-based arguments. We know that renting is hard because we live it every day but we know that to make real change we need to prove it. Generation Rent staff and volunteers have been busy bringing together data and analysing it to shine a light on the renting crisis.
  6. We’re building a movement online. On 25th November we will be taking over social media with #VentYourRent, sharing our experiences of the renting crisis. This election has already seen renting go viral whether it’s a landlord putting a thermostat in a cage or a landlord evicting renters so they can have a birthday party. We know there are more stories where they came from and we can create a buzz to make politicians sit up and listen.

We’ll be doing much, much more over the course of the election to make sure that renting is on the agenda. Generation Rent is a campaign of thousands of people and we won’t stop until renting is safer, fairer and more secure for the 13 million renters across the UK. You can help today by donating just £1 to cover the costs of our campaign.

 

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  • Ian Narbeth
    commented 2019-11-26 12:35:16 +0000
    I’m a professional landlord but don’t bite my head off.

    We have a family company and own and operate a number of HMOs and do our best to maintain properties to a high standard. Our tenants regularly compliment us and tenants who move out thank us for the enjoyable stay they have had.

    We want bad landlords out of the market. We spend a lot of money every year so that our houses are maintained to a decent standard. So far, I expect we are in agreement with tenants reading this.

    However, I would caution tenants about the law of unintended consequences. There is plenty of legislation to deal with bad landlords already. The issue is enforcing what there is. Paradoxically, adding more rules and regulations may end up helping the bad landlords.

    With every extra rule or regulation, law-abiding landlords have to incur greater costs in terms of time and money and then they either put up rents or, as is happening already, stop renting out their properties. The bad landlords (who don’t care if they are in breach of 5, 25 or 50 rules) see increased demand for their substandard properties and they can even increase their rents. If you think that more legislation is the answer then as the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for.

    I’ll comment of a few other issues as well: the proposed abolition of section 21, bad tenants and relocation costs.

    It may surprise you but in the majority of cases, landlords do have a reason for eviction (such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour). Tenants who complain about “no fault” evictions don’t always tell the whole story. Using s8 is time-consuming, costly and uncertain. It is not unknown for tenants to stop paying rent as soon as the landlord starts the eviction process and to raise specious defences. It needs to be acknowledged that landlords with defaulting tenants are victims too.

    The court system is currently far too slow and s21 is seen by landlords as the easier route. Reform the system and speed it up and landlords will use section 8.

    That said, there are still cases where s21 is necessary. I have just read on this site about a tenant with anti-social neighbours making life a misery. If the neighbours are tenants and if s21 is abolished it will be practically impossible for the landlord to evict the anti-social tenants using s8. It can take 12 to 24 months and is not straightforward. Oh and by the way, would you mind giving evidence against the anti-social neighbours? Do you really want to protect the bully and harm the victim? Be careful what you wish for.

    If tenants refuse all access to the property the landlord will not be able to carry out repairs or to check the state of the property. How else does a landlord recover possession?

    Undoubtedly there are some landlords who unreasonably use section 21. There are already laws against revenge evictions. I support them. In fact I want my tenants to report problems with the property so I can prevent damage getting worse (a stitch in time saves nine). The problem is shortage of housing. If there were a plentiful supply, it would be easier for tenants to move and in turn bad landlords would know that their tenants can leave. It will a Pyrrhic victory if you “solve” one problem but create new ones.

    I have some sympathy for tenants who are required to leave unexpectedly. But if the landlord is upfront and says at the outset: I am renting out whilst i move away for work but I will need the property back in a year’s time, the tenant cannot really complain. And what of the anti-social tenants mentioned above? It will add insult to injury if the landlord had to pay them to depart. If the quid pro quo for getting a tenant to leave in a timely manner is paying a reasonable towards relocation costs, I am willing to discuss it.

    I appreciate I may be walking into the lion’s den with this post but I am happy to have a civil discussion with any of you. If you drive the decent landlords out then the rogues will have less competition.