The renting system in Bristol is unfair. Renters from across Bristol have come together to create the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign, and have launched a manifesto to expose the realities of renting and call for urgent change.
This blog was written by the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign Team, explaining what they’re calling for and why.
Bristol’s private renting system is broken
There are around 134,000 people renting privately in Bristol, which is almost one-third of the population of the city. We are a large community of people who are all being impacted by a renting system that is not fair, stable or safe. Private renting needs to be fixed.
Last year, hundreds of renters across the city spoke out during Shelter Bristol’s Home Truths campaign and shared the issues they were facing. Three major themes emerged:
- Local rents are out of control and disproportionate to people’s incomes. Growing numbers of us can’t afford these rising rents. This situation has only been made worse by the pandemic, as many people face uncertainty in their employment.
- Disrepair and poor, unsafe conditions are a common issue for renters in our city. And we are not able to challenge landlords or letting agents who refuse or fail to make repairs or keep our homes safe because we are at risk of rent increases and retaliatory evictions.
- 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.
The reality? Bristol’s unfair private renting system is driving poverty and homelessness and breaking up communities.
When you’re private renting, there is a real feeling of powerlessness…Your agent decides to put your rent up, refuses to return your deposit for the wrong reasons, or never comes round and does repairs. It’s a broken system that allows those who have the power to take the wrong decision or exploit, or discriminate. And as renters, we feel: “that’s how it is, what can I do?”
Owain Astles, private renter, on Held in Common ‘Home Truths’ podcast.
It doesn’t need to be like this
Renters across Bristol are coming together to expose, to the wider community and to those in power, the reality of private renting. With Shelter Bristol’s support, we have formed a renters’ team and created a manifesto demanding a fair renting system for our city.
Our manifesto sets out how private renting locally is negatively impacting our communities and what we think needs to be done about it.
To make our local renting system fair, affordable, accessible and safe, we demand that our city’s political leaders:
- Tackle high and out of control rents and lobby national government for more local powers to make sure that landlords charge fair rents for a good service.
- Tackle poor conditions more proactively to ensure that the homes people are renting are decent and safe, and lobby national government to permanently protect renters from retaliatory evictions.
- Tackle discrimination in private renting and create a local action plan to stamp out ‘No DSS’ practices.
For more information, read our full manifesto.
Will you join us to demand urgent change?
With private renting often overlooked, thousands of Bristol renters are struggling to keep their homes. Our political leaders must do more to protect them.
People of Bristol – please read and sign our manifesto, to stand with us in solidarity and demand a fair renting system for our city.
Sign the manifesto
Show your support for the Bristol Fair Renting Manifesto here.
Share the manifesto with other Bristol residents and your local politicians, online via social media using the hashtag #RentFairBristol, or contact us to get paper copies to share in your local area.
Help lead the Campaign
If you’re a private renter in Bristol and you’d like to join the Fair Renting Campaign team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0344 515 1430 to get involved.
Know your rights
Before we can stand up for our rights, we need to know what they are. Shelter Bristol runs monthly online renters’ rights workshops aimed at those who rent privately, or those who are about to start renting, in Bristol.
If you’re a private renter, sign up for one of these workshops and go along to find out where you stand when it comes to eviction notices, joint tenancies, deposits and deductions, and getting repairs done.
If you’re not a private renter, please help us spread the word by sharing this information with Bristol renters you know.
Renters’ Rights Workshop dates:
If you need urgent housing advice, please call the Shelter Bristol Hub on 0344 515 1430.