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One in three renters fear losing their home

Katie Coyne16/11/2017 - 11:30

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Tenants worry they will have to move in a year
Tenants worry they will have to move in a year

A third of private renters worry they will have to move within a year, making them stressed and less connected to their community, according to a latest poll.

The research found that 35 per cent of private renters were worried they would have to move within the next 12 months. This compared with just 16 per cent of home owners.

The poll was carried out by market research firm Survation on behalf of Generation Rent, which campaigns on behalf of private tenants nationally. Some 1391 UK based adults took part.

According to the findings private renters were also less likely to feel that the economy was working for them, potentially creating further social isolation.

Over half (53 per cent) of private renters are more likely to be stressed or anxious generally compared to 35 per cent of home owners.

Generation Rent is now calling for ‘bolder reforms’ in this November’s budget. To help eradicate ‘revenge evictions’ it wants landlords to give a valid reason for taking back a property. This measure is already being introduced in Scotland.

Another measure suggested is that where a tenant is forced to move, through no fault of their own, the landlord pays the removal bill. This measure would encourage landlords wanting to sell up, to sell to another landlord with the tenants still living in the property.

Generation Rent also wants to see landlords prevented from raising rents faster than wages to stop landlords from forcing tenants out.

Director of Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, said: ‘With home ownership unaffordable and council housing unavailable, private renters are living longer in a tenure that was not designed to provide long term homes. 

‘The constant threat of your landlord deciding to sell up or move back in means that you have none of the stability that a home is supposed to provide. As the poll suggests, this is holding back tenants from improving their homes or getting involved in their local community. 

‘We can bring private renters’ quality of life into line with other tenures by restricting the ability of landlords to evict tenants who have done nothing wrong. Tenants should be compensated for the cost of an unwanted move and we should encourage any landlords who want to exit the market to sell with sitting tenants.’

The CIEH is also deeply concerned about retaliatory evictions and the impact they have on public health. It has backed Generation Rent’s calls for the government to tackle this issue.

A spokesperson said: ‘Tenants’ lack of security means that they are less likely to complain about poor housing conditions. Far too many environmental health professionals still see retaliatory evictions taking place in the private rented sector so it’s no wonder tenants don’t feel safe and secure in reporting poor conditions.

‘Fixing housing security for private rental sector tenants might therefore also help towards improving housing conditions within the private rental sector, as tenants would be more likely to come forward and seek help from local authorities.’

The CIEH urged the government to review retaliatory eviction legislation introduced in 2015 to ensure it is protecting tenants.

A review of Section 8 and 21 of the Housing Act was called for by the CIEH with a view to incentivising landlords to use the most appropriate legislation for evictions and stop retaliatory evictions.

CIEH called for longer tenancy agreements of up to five years after an initial period in a new tenancy for private rented sector tenants.

The Generation Rent poll found that while 53 per cent of home owners and council tenants are likely to know lots of people in their local area, only 42 per cent of private renters can say this.

Just 43 per cent of private renters said their home looks the way they want it to, compared to 50 per cent of council tenants and 66 per cent of home owners.

Only a quarter of private renters feel the economy works well for them while over a third (34 per cent) believe it does not.

Home owners were more likely to agree (37 per cent) that the economy was treating them well compared to 24 per cent of private renters.

The chancellor is expected to offer incentives for landlords who provide greater security of tenure in the budget next week.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid promised at the Conservative Party Conference to bring in ‘new incentives for landlords doing the right thing’ in the autumn budget.

Mr Javid said the government would be taking ‘further steps to give tenants more security of tenure’ and that landlords should give tenancies of at least 12 months. He added that tenants who had done nothing wrong ought to get at least three months’ notice of eviction.

 

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