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Renters launch national manifesto

Written by: Emma Lunn
Renters and housing justice campaigners from across England have come together to launch a national renters’ manifesto in time for the General Election.

The manifesto calls for radical reform of private renting and a transformation of the housing system – including the abolition of section 21 evictions, the introduction of rent controls and an end to discrimination of tenants on housing benefit.

The list of demand is jointly written by Generation Rent, London Renters Union, Acorn, New Economics Foundation, Renters’ Rights London and Tenants Union UK,

England’s private rented sector is home to 11 million people and one in four families. Generation Rent claims one in seven private rented homes is unsafe and high rents mean just 63 per cent of private tenants have savings. It says the size of the population and the scale of the problems mean political parties cannot afford to ignore renters ahead of the December election.

Generation Rent has identified 47 seats in England with a higher than average private renter population and a parliamentary majority of less than 5,000 votes. In these seats, which include those of cabinet ministers Robert Buckland (South Swindon), Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) and Alok Sharma (Reading West), private renters could cast the deciding vote.

The group’s manifesto includes the example of Maddie Moore, 32, from Malvern, who was evicted by her landlord when she was six months’ pregnant.

Maddie said: “I was six months’ pregnant when my landlord told me I had to leave. I had no choice but to move away from friends and family at a time when I needed them most – the experience left me alienated and isolated for the rest of my pregnancy and the first months of motherhood. Section 21 leaves families and pregnant women with no protection against eviction – I hope all parties will be thinking about how to protect renters at this election.”

Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, said: “The security of home ownership is closed off to millions of people who cannot save when their wage increases are simply swallowed up by the rent. Private renters are growing older and raising children in insecure, expensive homes, and will be thinking about this on the way to polling stations on 12 December. Any party that wants to run the country must offer renters stable and affordable homes, and this manifesto sets out how to deliver that.”

Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of New Economics Foundation, said: “Private renting is broken – unaffordable, insecure and often unsafe. This manifesto outlines the policies we need to fix our housing system, and improve conditions for the millions of private renters in the UK. The demand for change on private renting is growing, and the size of the renters vote is hugely influential. Political parties would be foolish to ignore this.”

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