Shelter and tenants’ group in a major city have mobilised to set up a campaign called Fair Renting.
The campaign is focussed on Bristol, where some 30 per cent of households are now believed to be in the private rental sector, accounting for around 134,000 people according to a Shelter figure.
In blogs and publicity material the campaigners claim that there are three major themes driving their activities.
First that local rents are ”out of control and disproportionate to incomes”; secondly that “disrepair and poor, unsafe conditions are a common issue for renters”; and thirdly that “many of us are locked out of private renting, due to the discrimination we face based on our age, sex, race, disability, type of employment or type of income.”
A Shelter blog goes on to accuse the city’s “unfair private renting system” of “driving poverty and homelessness and breaking up communities.”
The campaign claims that since 2011 rents in the city have risen by an average of 52 per cent, whereas wages have risen 24 per cent.
Ahead of next week’s local elections for a Mayor and councillors, the campaign says it wants all candidates to take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination in the private rented sector, and, if elected, to make this a formal remit of Bristol council’s Rogue Landlord and Letting Agent Unit.
It also demands that local mayoral candidates “acknowledge that private rents are out of control, and state what you will do to tackle high rents” and wants the council to lobby the Westminster government to develop long-term solutions to make private rents more affordable, including giving local authorities power to impose rent controls.
It also wants the council to be more pro-active in enforcing legislation against landlords and agents, and back tenants who take complaints about agents to The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.
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