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The Private Rental Sector in Liverpool could be key in 2015 election

Generation Rent finds that 35% of people in the private rented sector describe themselves as floating voters who could cast their votes on the basis of the parties' housing manifestos

The Private Rental Sector in Liverpool could be key in 2015 election

The number of people who are forced to rent their homes from private landlords in Liverpool and the UK because they cannot afford to buy could determine the result of the next general election in dozens of key parliamentary seats, research reveals today.

Polling by ComRes for the campaigning organisation Generation Rent finds that 35% of people in the private rented sector describe themselves as floating voters who could cast their votes on the basis of the parties' housing manifestos.

Generation Rent is campaigning to address problems that beset those in the sector, including high rents, poor conditions, short-term and insecure tenancies and mistreatment by landlords and letting agents. It argues that tenants should be given better protection, including minimum standards as a precondition of renting out properties, a national register of landlords, licensed letting agents and longer and more secure tenancies.

Generation Rent analysis found that two-thirds of private renters (67%) felt stuck in the rented sector because of the cost of buying, and more than half (52%) said the level of their rent was their biggest problem.

Although rents have been rising as demand for properties has grown, one in three tenants said they were living in properties with unacceptable dampness and a similar proportion said their landlord did not seem very interested in their living conditions.

The shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said that Labour was planning several initiatives to help those in the sector achieve higher standards, more security and better value in the private rental sector.

"Families need stability to plan where they will send their kids to school and certainty to manage their household budgets," she said.

"That's why Labour is committed to reforming the private rented sector so that it works for Britain's families. With longer-term tenancies and predictable rents, the private rented sector will offer the affordable and stable homes that renters need.

"It is a national scandal that more than a third of those people renting from private landlords are living in non-decent homes. If a local authority knows that poor standards are a massive problem in their area, we want to ensure they have the proper powers to deal with them."

Housing minister, Kris Hopkins, said: "We are taking action against the small minority of rogue landlords and letting agents, but avoiding excessive red tape, which would force up rents and reduce choice for tenants."

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