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Generation Rent: Housing Policy Could Swing The Vote In 2015 Election

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Apologies if this was posted in the last month (took a quick look on the forums but nothing came up).

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/29/general-election-could-hang-on-how-private-tenants-vote

Generation rent: housing policy could swing the vote in 2015 election

Floating voters in dozens of key seats say their decision will be based on the parties' housing manifestos
Woman-looks-into-the-wind-011.jpg
Pressure on housing stock is driving more people into renting from private landlords. Photograph: Alamy

The number of people who are forced to rent their homes from private landlords because they cannot afford to buy could determine the result of the next general election in dozens of key parliamentary seats, research reveals today.

Polling by ComRes for the campaigning organisation Generation Rentfinds that 35% of people in the private rented sector describe themselves as floating voters who could cast their votes on the basis of the parties'housing manifestos.

The figures, combined with analysis by the same organisation of the numbers of private renters in key constituencies, shows there are 86 parliamentary seats in which the sitting MP has a majority of less than 35% of the expanding tenant population. Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent (formerly the National Private Tenants Organisation), said private tenants should be a priority for all the parties as they could directly affect who will be prime minister next year: "After years of being ignored by Westminster, Britain's private renters will decide whether MPs will keep their jobs."

Generation Rent is campaigning to address problems that beset those in the sector, including high rents, poor conditions, short-term and insecure tenancies and mistreatment by landlords and letting agents. It argues that tenants should be given better protection, including minimum standards as a precondition of renting out properties, a national register of landlords, licensed letting agents and longer and more secure tenancies.

With pressure on housing stock growing, the number of private tenants has continued to rise while the number of homeowners has been falling. In 2012-13, the English Housing Survey counted 14,337,000 homeowners, down on 14,388,000 in 2011-12. There were 3,956,000 private tenants in 2012-13, an increase from 3,843,000 in 2011-12.

Another report to be published in the House of Commons on Wednesday by the Smith Institute – entitled Poverty in Suburbia – will show that between 2001 and 2011 there was a 68% rise in the number of people renting in the private sector in suburban areas, as poverty has spread out from city centres to regions traditionally associated with greater affluence. It argues that higher property costs in city centres and a lack of available housing is forcing more out to a life of poverty in suburbia.

The government insists it is acting on several fronts to help more people buy their homes, and to expand the availability of social and private rented housing. Last week ministers said more than 17,000 homes had been bought under its Help to Buy scheme, which enables buyers to get on the housing ladder with as little as a 5% deposit through a loan from the government.

The figures were released days after the chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the scheme was to be extended until 2020. It also hails public-private deals under its Build to Rent scheme, which it says will allow work to begin by next year on 10,000 new homes that will be available for private rent.

However the Generation Rent analysis found that two-thirds of private renters (67%) felt stuck in the rented sector because of the cost of buying, and more than half (52%) said the level of their rent was their biggest problem.

Although rents have been rising as demand for properties has grown, one in three tenants said they were living in properties with unacceptable dampness and a similar proportion said their landlord did not seem very interested in their living conditions.

The shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said that Labour was planning several initiatives to help those in the sector achieve higher standards, more security and better value in the private rental sector.

"Families need stability to plan where they will send their kids to school and certainty to manage their household budgets," she said.

"That's why Labour is committed to reforming the private rented sector so that it works for Britain's families. With longer-term tenancies and predictable rents, the private rented sector will offer the affordable and stable homes that renters need.

"It is a national scandal that more than a third of those people renting from private landlords are living in non-decent homes. If a local authority knows that poor standards are a massive problem in their area, we want to ensure they have the proper powers to deal with them."

Housing minister, Kris Hopkins, said: "We are taking action against the small minority of rogue landlords and letting agents, but avoiding excessive red tape, which would force up rents and reduce choice for tenants."

The full list of 86 MPs under threat as a result of the high number of private renters will be available fromMonday at Generation Rent .

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The country should be run in a disciplined sensible manner for the good of the genral population...not run for the benefit of a select few so they can get into power.

The system is wrong...who do we vote for to change it ?

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I can see two problems with that argument:

  1. Lack of a suitable alternative to vote for.
  2. Disenfranchisement of Tenants.

This story seems to have been somewhat overtaken by events, but I think illustrates my point:


Today’s news: convicted prisoners are to get the vote.

It’s one more tiny token of just how marginalised you can be by the economic exclusion of being stuck in the private rental market. As in, when I moved here I lost the opportunity to vote, by being ineligible to get onto the electoral register in time for the election. I even asked the council about it, and they confirmed that I couldn’t vote.

It’s not even as if I had a choice about when to move house. Private tenants have no security, and my former landlady gave me notice to quit because she was selling up and returning to her native Switzerland after divorcing her English ex-husband. Unlike the rich (homeowners) or indeed the rich-by-proxy (social tenants), we are completely at the mercy of a total stranger. And now, just to rub it in, convicts in prison are elevated above us.

FWIW, I first had the vote in a UK general election in 1983, when I was a postgraduate student at Cambridge. We’ve had six further elections since then, but I’ve had the vote in exactly one of those. Lifetime track record of the universal franchise: two of seven!

Still, it’s all pretty symbolic. The real kick in the teeth is the living conditions we endure. No security, arbitrary rules and restrictions (like not putting a picture up on the walls), and above all paying rents in a market massively inflated by taxpayer-funded housing benefit.

But here’s the rub. Maybe if we’d had the vote over the years, governments would have noticed. Maybe we’d’ve been spared decades of paying three times over[1] for property pimps to get obscenely rich exploiting us.

[1] First through taxes, some of which are channeled into housing, both in ‘affordable’ and ‘social’ housing, and in housing benefit. Second through rent, which is inflated by having to compete with housing benefit recipients who have no incentive to seek a good deal. And third, if I get rich enough to buy, by prices inflated by all that public money, including not least the inflated yields (rents) for property pimps.

[edit to add] Still, it's good to see the newspapers suggesting to politicians there might be votes to be had.

Edited by porca misèria

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I hope that the (generally younger) renters get their act together over this.

I doubt if anyone will believe a policy, no matter how good, if it comes from the Lib Dems. As for the others . . . .

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The thing is, there isn't actually any pro-renter choice to vote for - which party is offering to tax BTL, or give tennants more rights while they're renting?

I can think of plenty of reasons why I don't want to vote for each of the major parties, but no good reasons to chose one over any of the others. I'd be amazed if come next year, they've moved on from arguing endlessly how they'd spend < 1% of GDP differently from the others while claiming to be all for 'hard working families' :(

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The thing is, there isn't actually any pro-renter choice to vote for - which party is offering to tax BTL, or give tennants more rights while they're renting?

I can think of plenty of reasons why I don't want to vote for each of the major parties, but no good reasons to chose one over any of the others. I'd be amazed if come next year, they've moved on from arguing endlessly how they'd spend < 1% of GDP differently from the others while claiming to be all for 'hard working families' :(

Thta's what comes from having no decent left-wing party - Labour can hardly be described as such.

Mind you, a real hammering of all three parties in the Euros may put the wind up the lot of them.

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Thta's what comes from having no decent left-wing party - Labour can hardly be described as such.

Mind you, a real hammering of all three parties in the Euros may put the wind up the lot of them.

Right now we don't even have a right-wing party that believes in free markets - our choices are bluebell-white,barley-white and rose-white...

Still, if we keep sending our most odious politicians up to Scotland to beg them to say, the departure of Scotland will be come a certantity, and all the parties in England & Wales will have to do some major rethinking!

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Its one more tiny token of just how marginalised you can be by the economic exclusion of being stuck in the private rental market. As in, when I moved here I lost the opportunity to vote, by being ineligible to get onto the electoral register in time for the election. I even asked the council about it, and they confirmed that I couldnt vote.

Its not even as if I had a choice about when to move house. Private tenants have no security, and my former landlady gave me notice to quit because she was selling up and returning to her native Switzerland after divorcing her English ex-husband. Unlike the rich (homeowners) or indeed the rich-by-proxy (social tenants), we are completely at the mercy of a total stranger. And now, just to rub it in, convicts in prison are elevated above us.

Whoever wrote that is either scarily dumb given they claim to have a Cambridge postgrad, or is missing out some massive points.

Even if we assume he was given minimum notice, or illegally low notice, the likelihood he moved dozens of miles or more is low. If he had bothered to register to vote, he would still have been registered to vote at his old address. Getting to his old polling place would have been a minor inconvenience at most.

Possibly getting kicked out at short notice coincided with a new job a long way away, and getting to the old polling place from there was a challenge. But for five elections in a row? No way.

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So, policies that ensure that the up-and-coming demographic hate your guts.

One really does have to wonder whether politicians are as thick as pig-sh1t, or... actually, no. One doesn't have to wonder at all...

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So, policies that ensure that the up-and-coming demographic hate your guts.

One really does have to wonder whether politicians are as thick as pig-sh1t, or... actually, no. One doesn't have to wonder at all...

Well the tories have pinned there hopes on the boomer-pensioner demographic who make up their core vote. That is abundantly clear. The slight problem with that is that that demographic is starting to die off. So at the same time as they are making the young hate their guts, the group on whom they most depend, is shrinking. Worse still as a tactic its failing miserably.

The question is what will labour do? They are a fair bit less dependent on boomer - pensioners, as evinced by the lower average voting age of labour supporters. But they are still heavily dependant on them. I guess we will see what they decide to do and where they pitch their demographic tent, as they outline their core policies as the next general election gets closer.

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http://

www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/jan/06/david-cameron-conservatives-economic-policy

David Cameron took the side of savers hit by tumbling interest rates yesterday and promised to abolish tax on the savings income of all basic-rate taxpayers.

...

Cameron said: "We need to make a really big change in Britain from an economy built on debt to an economy built on savings. A culture of thrift at the heart of government and a culture of saving at the heart of our economy - these changes will provide strong foundations for the new economy we plan to build."

...

http://

www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10457090/Camerons-broken-promise-to-savers-costs-68bn.html

Do you remember our prime minister outlining plans to rescue the "victims of Gordon Brown's recession" by putting "a culture of saving at the heart of our economy"?

It is hard to believe, but wind the clock back to January 2009 and such pledges to help diligent savers were uttered in a brazen speech by David Cameron, just as his election campaign creaked into gear.

He promised to turn Britain from a "spend, spend, spend society" into a "save, save, save society". To prioritise borrowers over savers, he said, was "morally indefensible" and a Conservative government would "abolish income tax on savings for everyone on the basic rate of tax".

When I checked on Friday, the speech had disappeared from the Conservative website. How convenient, given it is increasingly clear that such promises were mere political hogwash. Unfortunately for Mr Cameron, the memory of his words (and the writing in journalists' notebooks) is less easily expunged.

...

That was about savings promises before the 2010 general election.

For sure the problems of renters have been highlighted and for sure promises will be made by the LibLabCon party about renters before the 2015 general election - promises promises.

Tuition fees, eu referendum, no more boom and bust, no more out of control house prices, printing money etc etc, name the promise to any age group within the electorate and it's been reneged on by the LibLabCon party.

Edited by billybong

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