Politicians beware: Generation Rent’s electoral impact is just around the corner!
Manifestations of the housing crisis present themselves to me on an hourly basis. Through leading a team of staff who provide the main customer interface between those in housing need and the largest social landlord in Bradford, it is easy to smell the sense of desperation in the air as yet another citizen of the district enters through the doors and announces their intention to join the bulging waiting list for social housing. Every applicant has their own justification as to why their need is greater than others but there are common patterns to be found within each attempt to obtain the security and affordability a social tenancy offers.
“I can’t pay the rent.” Despite Bradford’s private rent levels being particularly low by national standards, the relative high levels of unemployment and accompanying low-wage economy leave many people unable to plug the gap between the housing benefit they are entitled to and the rent they need to pay. Whilst there are greater economic issues at play here, the lack of housing supply in all tenures means that tenants are at the mercy of private landlords who know the game is rigged in their favour. This skewed situation comes to the fore in a whole host of other ways; notices being served like they are going out of fashion, landlords unwilling to carry out repairs, tenants having to find new shelter every few months.
Whilst many may argue that regulation is required to correct these market failures, this is only one part of the puzzle. An increase in housing supply across all tenures is the only way to guarantee the playing field is levelled and to ensure that landlords realise their tenants are not to be taken for granted.
Politicians beware: Generation Rent’s electoral impact is just around the corner.