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Renters call for radical reform in national housing manifesto

RENTERS and housing justice campaigners have called for radical reform of private renting in their national manifesto ahead of the general election.

Housing groups London Renters Union, Generation Rent, Acorn, New Economics Foundation, Renters’ Rights London and Tenants Union UK penned the manifesto designed to transform housing in Britain.

The manifesto includes calls for the abolition of section 21 evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason, the introduction of rent controls and ending discrimination of tenants on housing benefit.

England’s private rented sector is home to 11 million people and one in four families, their manifesto notes.

One in seven private rented homes is unsafe and high rents mean just 63 per cent of private tenants have savings, it said.

The groups warn that the size of the population and the scale of the problems mean political parties cannot afford to ignore renters ahead of the December 12 election.

Generation Rent has identified 47 seats in England with a higher than average private renter population and a parliamentary majority of less than 5,000 votes.

In these seats, which include those of Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (South Swindon), Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) and International Development Secretary Alok Sharma (Reading West), private renters could cast the deciding vote.

Maddie Moore, 32, from Malvern, was evicted by her landlord when she was six months’ pregnant.

She said: “I had no choice but to move away from friends and family at a time when I needed them most — the experience left me alienated and isolated for the rest of my pregnancy and the first months of motherhood.

“Section 21 leaves families and pregnant women with no protection against eviction — I hope all parties will be thinking about how to protect renters at this election.”

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