Renting from a private landlord is not a choice most of us make freely. Two-thirds of private renters would rather own their home, while another 10% would prefer to be in social housing.
The reasons are pretty clear: most tenants are on short term contracts – not knowing if you’ll have to move in the next year makes it difficult to feel at home or part of the local community – and it’s especially difficult for the two million children living like this. The condition of private rented properties is more likely to be poor or dangerous to health. And the cost is enormous – 39% of private renters told ComRes in 2014 that they have had to cut down on heating because of the cost of rent and a third are cutting back on food.
Private renting is growing – it doubled in the course of the past decade and is now where a majority of under-35s live. If trends continue, we estimate that by the next census there will be more renters than homeowners in 104 parliamentary seats – and that will have huge implications for the government’s attitudes to housing.
The growth of private renting and the wider housing crisis is already penetrating the political debate. The current government wants to turn generation rent into generation buy. The Mayor of London was elected after calling the election a referendum on London's housing crisis. More than half of the population knows someone who is struggling to afford to rent or buy a suitable home and 38% would vote for a party that made housing a top three priority.
Here's what we think should change, in the areas of:
We expand on these areas in our June 2014 manifesto, and more recently in our May 2015 Queens Speech for Housing.
Our policies for London are outlined on our campaign microsite, www.votehomes2016.com.