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We Know England's Housing Is Broken - Which Party Will Help Renters Struggling To Get By?

12/05/2017 08:38 BST | Updated 12/05/2017 08:38 BST
Howard Brundrett/Eye Ubiquitous

Finally, we have political consensus that England's housing market is broken. But while most political parties agree that something needs to change, they've been slow to offer solutions that really work for people.

Too many private renters are trapped, unable to afford runaway house prices and facing prohibitive waiting lists for social housing - of which there is simply not enough.

They know from first-hand experience that the housing market is broken but don't feel that politicians are offering them workable solutions. Parties may try to appeal to first-time buyers, for example, but hard-pressed private renters often can't even afford government schemes like shared ownership and Help to Buy.

New analysis by Shelter has found that 1.3million privately renting households are struggling to afford a basic standard of living after paying the rent each month. And additional figures released today by Shelter show one in three low earning renters have had to borrow money in order to pay their rent.

The rent takes priority but this means there's not always enough money left over to juggle essential bills, let alone the occasional day out or present for a kid's birthday party.

Expensive rents are compounded by a lack of stability. Private renters can expect just six to 12 months' security of tenure and face the near-constant worry that their landlord might chose to sell up or ask for a higher rent.

Whoever wins in June needs to show hard-pressed renters that they are on their side by providing genuinely affordable and stable homes.

This is why we at Shelter are calling on the next government to commit to building 500,000 homes at living rents over the course of the next parliament. England needs these homes to give low earning renters the financial breathing space and stability they need.

Adopting living rents would ensure that rents reflect what people earn and not what the broken market demands. And, to give families stability, tenancies should guarantee people at least ten years in their home.

A new generation of living rent homes will mean that more families can achieve the reasonable expectation of a stable and affordable place to call home.

Kate Webb is Shelter's Head of Policy and Research