Owning a home has been a lofty goal for many people but for ‘Generation Rent’, it’s a nigh on impossible dream, particularly if you wish to live in the South.
With minimal wages, the path from renting a home to owning one has become even more difficult. As a result, an estimated 4.6 million people were privately renting in 2021, 18% of the population, an increase from a mere 10% of people in 2000.
Social renting has also made a steady decline over the years, leaving people no choice but to go increasingly private, which seems to be the story of UK the last 10 years.
On top of that, legal protections for renters have also gone down, with homes being allowed to go into decline whilst landlords rake in the rent. This came to a head when a young boy in Rochdale died last year due to a dilapidated conditions he was living in.
After COVID there was a rise in ‘No Fault’ Evictions as soon as the ban on evictions was lifted, including yours truly in the first property I lived in in Bristol.
I should point out that in these cases, they are often the result of rogue landlords and do not represent the majority of private landlords. Nevertheless, things are pretty hopeless for people of my generation.
Thankfully, there does seem to be a little hope on the horizon for us. A measure to ask Westminster for the powers to regulate private renters and cap renting costs passed through the Bristol City Council on the 11 January 2023.
The motion was written and refined by the Housing Cabinet member, Tom Renhard, working across party with the Bristol Greens and Lib Dems so as to get this motion right.
The motion thankfully passed 35 – 9 despite many councillors being “banished” from the debate by the Lord Mayor (which is a different role to that of the controversial Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol) under the advice of the Council’s Chief Legal Officer, because they had a conflict of interest because they were private renters and private landlords. Those who voted for the motion were from Labour, Greens and Lib Dems, with only the conservatives voting against the motion, saying that “… Rent controls don’t work. Rent controls are not the solution, they never have been”, citing places like Berlin where rent costs are still a problem despite rent control.
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