Renters become a powerful political force

The growing number of people renting their homes means politicians will increasingly need to take notice of their views. Research by Generation Rent has revealed that there will soon be more than 100 MPs representing constituencies where renters form the majority of households.

“The explosion in the number of renters in the past decade took the Westminster establishment by surprise,” says the research report. “Their belated response – making it slightly easier to buy a house – is inadequate when you consider how endemic the housing crisis is.”

The report points out that the recent round of political party conferences was dominated by rhetoric about home buying – something that is increasingly unaffordable. Renters need help now, argues Generation Rent. “That politicians are now competing for votes by pledging to build the most houses is a welcome development,” says the report. “But in the time it takes for these houses to materialise, the private rented sector’s numbers will continue to swell.”

The change in housing demographics means that while 38 MPs had more renters than owners in their constituencies in 2001, the number had risen to 65 by 2011 and is set to increase to 104 seats by the time of the next census in 2021. Many of the affected seats are in urban areas.

“Unless MPs adapt their priorities to reflect renters’ needs, then 100 MPs will be irrelevant to their voters by 2020,” warns Generation Rent. “MPs have one parliament to adapt, and we expect any government elected in May next year to be proposing pro-renter policies by June.”

More about the research is on the Generation Rent website.

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