Everyone has the right to an affordable, secure home.


by Kat Boettge

11032011487If you’re aged 20 to 30-something, paying a large chunk of your salary on rent, and have little hope of raising a deposit to buy a home, then consider yourself part of ‘Generation Rent’. With 73% of private tenants aged under 45, and 78% of landlords aged over 45*, the imbalance between the generations is startling. ‘Rent Freedom Day’, an event organised by the campaign group Generation Rent, and taking place at Westminster on Wednesday 4 February, wants to see a fairer deal for renters, an improvement in the standard of rented housing, and a re-balancing of home ownership between young and old.
Housing has become a case of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Whilst average pay for young people has fallen by 15% from 2008-2013, landlords have enjoyed an average of 16.3% profit every year since buy-to-let lending started in the 1990s. This has been buoyed by policies such as 10% tax breaks for ‘wear and tear allowance’ – the benefits of which do not appear to be trickling down to renters.
Whilst many landlords are responsive and attentive, some are neglectful and mercenary; over a third of dwellings in the private rented sector are classed as non-decent, and a quarter of tenants have requested repairs which are not carried out. Unfortunately there are few options available to tenants to force their landlords to improve, with existing safeguards (such as action from local council Health and Safety teams) only available in the most extreme examples.
Vote For Change
According to ComRes polling, 35% of the UK’s 10 million private renters are swing voters, and 86 parliamentary seats have enough private rental swing voters to overturn the incumbent MP’s majority. This means renters can have real influence in the upcoming election. Generation Rent policies such as a national register of landlords, an end to rip-off letting agents’ fees, the outlawing of revenge evictions, and the introduction of modern rent controls, will begin to re-address the balance in favour of renters.
The Green Party is proud to support the Generation Rent campaign and ‘Rent Freedom Day’. In addition, the Green Party’s broader economic policies such as a £10 minimum wage, higher rates of council tax for unoccupied properties and second homes, and a massive investment in building more affordable, efficient homes, will make sure that young people’s dreams of home-ownership can become a reality.
Join ‘Rent Freedom Day’

On the 4th February campaigners and organisations including the Intergenerational Foundation and Generation Rent are lobbying Parliament and the main political parties, and holding a series of talks and workshops for private renters who are fed up and want to take action. Rent Freedom Day is free to attend, and is the last opportunity before the General Election to pressure politicians to fix the housing market.
Full details for Rent Freedom Day are available here: http://www.rentfreedomday.org/schedule
To find out more about the work of Generation Rent, visit the website: http://www.generationrent.org/campaigns
– Matt Sisson is the Green Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough


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