Struggling voters who rent their homes 'could decide Plymouth MP's future'

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert April 7, 2014 12:50
ampaign group Generation Rent says a new poll shows that 35 per cent of private tenants are potential ‘swing voters’.
The ComRes poll follows a decade where landlords’ business has doubled.
Nine million people in England now live in rented accommodation.
Generation Rent has pinpointed Mr Colvile’s Plymouth Sutton and Devonport constituency as one where the people renting from private landlords could be deciding factor in the 2015 General Election.
A total of 15,251 households are privately rented in Mr Colvile’s constituency.
Thirty-five per cent of that figure would equate to at least 5,338 voters – well above Mr Colvile’s 2010 margin of 1,149.
Other Devon seats that could change hands as a result of the private rent sector include Exeter, held by Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, and Newton Abbot, where Conservative Anne Marie Morris is currently the MP.
Generation Rent director Alex Hilton said: “Because home ownership is off limits to millions, private renters have become a potent electoral force in parts of Devon.
“With people cutting back on essentials just to pay the rent, the private rented sector needs to start working for the people living there and they will reward candidates who support reform.
“Generation Rent will be working with local campaigners between now and the election to make sure renters have something to vote for.”
With private renters typically on insecure contracts, rent one of their largest living costs and many suffering from poor conditions, there are electoral rewards for any candidate who can address their concerns.
Analysis has identified a total of 86 parliamentary seats where the overall majority is less than 35 per cent of the private renter population; the proportion of tenants in the private rented sector who say they change party allegiance between elections.
Generation Rent says there are enough potential swing voters in the private rented sector to vote out the three Devon MPs at the General Election if other candidates offer better policies for renters.
According to the ComRes findings, two thirds of private renters in the UK (67 per cent) say they are stuck renting because of the cost of buying, and more than half (52 per cent) consider the cost of rent to be their biggest problem.
Rent is so expensive that two in five private renters (39 per cent) say that they have had to cut back on heating their current property because of the cost of rent, while a third (33 per cent) say that they have had to cut back on food.
The poll also found that conditions were poor for many private renters, with 33 per cent saying that they live in properties with unacceptable levels of dampness, while 35 per cent say that their landlord does not seem particularly interested in their living conditions.
Generation Rent is campaigning to fix the multiple problems that private renters face, including high rents, poor conditions, short-term and insecure tenancies and mistreatment by landlords and letting agents.
Private renters need better protections including minimum standards as a precondition of renting out a property, a national register of landlords, licensing of letting agents, longer and more secure tenancies and a much greater supply of affordable, privately rented housing.
Generation Rent has received a £725,000 grant from the Nationwide Foundation, which supports organisations working to create decent, affordable homes.
Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert April 7, 2014 12:50


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