The UK general election cycle has come to an abrupt re-start, and the controversial topic of the UK housing market – and the renters within – shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some of the key issues to look out for in the upcoming election:
Stability and security for tenants
A major problem facing tenants in the UK is the lack of security when it comes to their own tenancies, and to landlords against rogue tenants. The recent Housing White Paper outlined ‘family-friendly’ tenancy agreements that would see tenants sign potentially three-year-long agreements, more suitable for families and giving stability to both tenants and landlords. This is a policy that should also be included in the manifestos of the other main parties.
Council Housing & Housing Association Rents
The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all promised to provide more affordable housing for both council houses and housing association properties that will be built specifically for renters. This is promising news, but without any manifestos published, it isn’t quite clear how the parties will fund these projects. Parties like to make bold claims about housing before an election, but for 2017 and beyond, Britain needs these promises to mean a new future for renters.
All three main parties have promised to curb letting agent fees for tenants and provide stability in a market where renters have been facing rising fees and an unstable renting infrastructure for some years. Letting agency fees in England are unregulated, and renters have no leverage. With an election on the horizon, renters will look to UK politicians to finally change this and put power back into their hands.
Sound familiar? We’ve heard this before. Before the 2015 election, Ed Milliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron all promised to ban letting agent fees. So two years on, we’re still being told letting agents fees will be abolished. This is the main promise renters need to keep an eye on.
Activist Rental Groups are pushing for rock solid election promises
Tenant activist group ACORN recently launched an online survey to mobilise the “renter’s vote” before the upcoming election. This isn’t surprising, being that if one person in every of the 4.5million households in the rental sector voted, it could sway the outcome of the election.
Another group – Generation Rent – seek to inspire the 10million “army of renters” in the UK to change the face of private renting for the better.
The issues in the UK rental market have been positively addressed
There are positives for the UK rental market going towards an election – all the main parties seem to be promising similar fixes, which means the problems renters experience have been identified throughout Westminster. Providing security for tenants and landlords, safe and easy ways of renting and leasing, and more properties to rent are being discussed by all parties. However, it’s good to remember that the housing crisis goes beyond party politics – the UK needs a private rental sector that is fit for purpose. Let’s hope the next government delivers.