Owen Jones of the Guardian has raised a point which is echoed throughout the UK; No longer are property developers simply a part of the 'market', but they are the drivers of the market, ensnaring a rapidly increasing populace as a captive audience for rising rents, decreasing availability and quality of rental properties.
No longer is this a morality-tale for those in the Seats of Power to nod along to, but a catastrophic housing crisis which cannot and should not be ignored. As a renter, I am part of a community ...of renters. This community of individuals are now finding their collective voices and the means and the motivation to come together in the face of this extortion.
Manchester Generation Rent are working to enable this collective need to become transformed into collective action, to begin to shift the untenable trajectory of sky-rocketing rents and dwindling availability of affordable housing.
Owen Jones explains why he blames the property developers for the cataclysmic shift into the current housing crisis:
Labour has called on the Scottish Government to back a ban on "rip-off rent rises", ahead of a debate on private sector rent reform at Holyrood. Read the full article published on 'the courier' website here -
The party says hard-pressed families could face financial crisis if rogue landlords decide to unfairly increase rents, which have already risen significantly in some parts of the country in recent years
Woody Allen once quipped:
"When I was kidnapped my parents snapped into action. They rented out my room".
Never has such a joke been so excruciatingly apt than in our current housing crisis where the enforced bedroom tax has been rained down upon some of the poorest households in our communities, and where property has become the latest greatest place for the wealthy to invest in an otherwise flailing consumer market.
The housing market, as the Manchester Advertiser likes to remind me, is 'Booming' and never has there been a better time to be a 'landlord, developer or investor'. Why then, are renters not luxuriating in the benefits of such a successful industry? Why are we not revelling in the glorious standard of rental accommodation and affordability, as the sector becomes ever more prosperous and invested in?
Perhaps the answer to this lies in the cryptic clue of the original joke quoted above- the marketeers, whether they are investors, developers, landlords, managing or letting agents-have one common denominator. They have the power of legislature behind them and are all exploiting an opportunity. While the current Government fails to provide enough housing renters remain a captive audience of 9 million, through whom landlords alone, garner 32 Billion Pounds per year.
The Government has voted to continue to allow private renters to be charged extortionate fees by letting agents, get evicted for complaining about conditions in their home and have their money unprotected in the event a letting agent goes bust.
On Wednesday November the 26th the House of Lords debated the Consumer Rights Bill as part of its Report Stage. Amendments to the Bill to require letting agents to insure rent money held on behalf of landlords, to ban letting agents charging fees to tenants, and to ban the eviction of tenants who have complaints upheld by the local authority were defeated by a vote of peers.
Amendment 44 on mandatory client protection, introduced by Labour’s Baroness Hayter, was defeated by 168 votes to 123. Amendment 44ZA on protection of tenants was defeated by 156 votes to 113.
Renters will outnumber homeowners in Manchester, making up 65% of the city’s population by 2021, research by Generation Rent has found. But Manchester’s renter population continues to be short-changed by MPs representing the interests of homeowners in the rest of the UK. Based on current trends, 162,000 households will be renting in Manchester by the time of the next census, compared to 89,000 owner occupiers. As a result, all five MPs covering central Manchester will represent seats where a majority of people are renters.
The findings come in a report published yesterday by Generation Rent, which examines the increase in the renter population between 2001 and 2011 in each parliamentary seat and projects the likely demographics by 2021.
Nationally Generation Rent has found 65 seats with more renters than homeowners in 2011, and predicts a rise to 104 by 2021. This represents a huge increase in political power for a large section of the population that has long been neglected by successive governments, and we need your help.
Over 60,000 households in Manchester are renting from private landlords. That's more than 150,000 people with few rights over conditions or security of tenure.
We're setting up a Manchester branch of Generation Rent to do something about it. Please join us here or you can sign up for our September 20th meetup here.
It's time renters got a better deal.