This is how we've campaigned to fix renting – so, what next? 

This is how we've campaigned to fix renting – so, what next? 

It’s been almost three years since the Conservatives promised to reform renting. Yet renters are still having to put up with being evicted for no reason, bad conditions, and overpriced rents.  

This affects more renters than you’d think. Across England, almost four in ten (39%) private renters say they have been forced to live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions because they fear complaining to their landlord will trigger a retaliatory eviction.  

It’s clear we need urgent change – the government must not delay 

The government used its Levelling Up whitepaper to commit to bringing forward the much-anticipated Renters’ Reform Bill. This shows its intention to seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform renting.  

In 2022, it’s our collective responsibility as housing campaigners to turn up the pressure and scale of our campaign to make renting fairer. So, what have we learnt so far and how will this help form our future campaign?  

People power works 

During the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the government stepped in and banned evictions. Overnight, it transformed renting to make sure everyone was secure in their home. Action from the then-Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, was thanks to campaigners building pressure.  

So far, our Renters’ Reform Bill petition has over 50,000 signatures. This alone won’t fix our failing renting system, but it does show the scale of support. Supporters are using their voices to speak out, sign the petition and get more involved in our campaign. If you haven’t already, sign the petition and encourage your friends and family to do so too. 

Local problems have a national solution 

From Plymouth to Blackburn, last year we took our campaign to high streets across England. We ran campaign stalls on high streets and in over 50 Shelter charity shops. In 2022, we must encourage more local action so that people can connect with the campaign in their communities. 

Working closely with our community organisers, we will help supporters run local campaigns and apply pressure on their local MPs. By highlighting bad renting on their patch, MPs will realise the local impact that the Renters’ Reform Bill can have.  

Local political leaders taking action 

When the private rented sector fails renters, councils must provide the safety net. But as government funding to councils has been dramatically reduced over recent years, holes in this net have never been wider. 

At the end of last year, our supporters signed open letters addresses to their council leaders. This convinced over 50 leaders from every political party to write to Michael Gove, putting forward their case for a National Landlord Register to be included in the Renters’ Reform Bill.  

The letter-writing worked! The government recently announced a National Landlord Register would form part of the Levelling Up whitepaper. It’s clear that our allies in local government are a powerful voice in the campaign for fairer renting, so we must continue working closely with them.  

We need to amplify renters’ voices 

We have a responsibility to help people tell their stories of bad renting. People who have put up with rogue landlords or unsafe conditions need to be at the centre of our campaign. As a campaigning organisation, we must make sure MPs from all political parties hear from and speak to these people.  

Coalition is key 

As a member of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, 2022 is a big year for us. By building cross-civil society pressure on MPs and government ministers, we can demand they deliver a strong Renters’ Reform Bill.   

During the worst of the pandemic, it was obvious how important home was to everyone. Now, with a deepening cost-of-living crisis beginning to bite, it’s clearer now than ever before that everybody needs to be able to rely on a stable home. 

The government has committed to the Renters’ Reform Bill in 2022, but it’s up to us to make sure it gives every renter security in their home and the power to enforce their rights.  

Enough is enough! Now is the time for Michael Gove to work quickly to bring forward a thorough Renters’ Reform Bill which will strengthen the rights of renters. Renters urgently need security in their homes and powers to assert their rights. Please sign our petition to add your voice. Thank you.