Shelter has published what it calls a General Election manifesto with rent controls at its heart.
Called The Way Home: a manifesto to rebuild our broken housing system, it is a four-point plan for “ending the housing emergency, outlining what people across England and the housing sector are demanding from our country’s next government.”
Each point has several aspects.
In a contribution to social housing trade publication Inside Housing, Shelter chief executive Polly Neate writes: “The emergency we now find ourselves in is not inevitable. We can and must do better. Taken together, this programme for the next government can comprehensively shift the approach and bring security and affordability to the nation’s homes.”
The first of the four points is “to provide people with safe, secure and affordable homes, political parties across the spectrum must commit to building 90,000 social homes a year for the next 10 years.”
Secondly “with private rents continuing to rise while wages stagnate, we must have a plan to prevent people from being trapped in a cycle of financial hardship. We need to make private renting affordable.
“This means regulating how much landlords can hike rents within a tenancy each year, to protect people from the stress and instability of huge rent increases. Alongside this, adequate housing benefit is key to protect people from homelessness.”
Thirdly “to stop people’s homes making them sick, we need better management, robust regulation and proper enforcement standards for rented homes. Alongside the implementation of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, there must be investment in social homes to improve conditions for social renters. And for the private rented sector, local authorities need stronger powers to hold rogue landlords to account.”
And the fourth and final point is stronger and clearer housing rights which Neate says are “integral to tackling homelessness and allowing people to understand where and how to find the support they need for their housing situation to address problems before they escalate. Alongside this, we must give everyone at risk of street homelessness a legal right to suitable emergency accommodation and adequate support.”
Neate says: “Politicians must now be ready to respond. This emergency will not solve itself. But it has a solution, and those who experience the worst of it know what the answer is. At the next election the nation is demanding – and expecting – leaders to deliver change to end the housing emergency. Anything less is a commitment to further suffering.”
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