Britain's housing shortage is pushing home ownership out of reach for many people, and as a result private renting is now the norm for millions of families.
Nine million people now rent privately, including over 1.3 million families with children. Almost half of those who rent are over 35 – many of them want the same security and stability they would have if they owned their own home.
But the rules on private renting have not caught up with the way people live now. Too many people are struggling with the rising cost of renting and with the insecurity and uncertainty built into the rental market.
As well as rising rents – up on average by £1,020 a year since 2010 – letting agents' fees of up to £500 every time someone moves house have added to the growing cost of renting. And under the current system, most renters can only get short-term tenancies of six to 12 months which don't work for families looking to settle down.
On top of that, they are faced with the prospect that their rent could jump unpredictably from one year to the next – half of all families who rent say that they are worried about unaffordable rent increases.
When Louise rented her home in Ingleby Barwick she paid £100 as a signing-up fee to the Estate Agents, a special offer at the time. She said:
This is on top of the deposit and first month's rent, it is a lot for people to find. Thankfully my landlord is excellent and has promised to let me stay pretty much for as long as I like but lots of tenants face upheaval and uncertainty when they can be asked to vacate without warning.
Labour will introduce a fairer deal for renters
- We will introduce a ceiling on excessive rent rises and make stable three-year tenancies the rule, not the exception.
- We will ban rip-off letting fees - saving renters over £600 - and make sure that the fees charged by letting agents to landlords are transparent so that they know what they are paying for.
- We will create a national register of private landlords to drive up standards of rental properties and drive out rogue landlords.