22 Sep 23

Shelter has launched its manifesto for the next General Election, calling on all political parties to commit to a four-point plan to rebuild the country’s ‘broken housing system’.

The homelessness charity says this action must include clamping down on criminal landlords and more regulation of private sector landlords.

The manifesto, entitled ‘The Way Home: a manifesto to rebuild our broken housing system’, outlines the action needed to end the housing emergency and has been created with the help of 75 people with a ‘lived experience of the housing emergency’.

The manifesto demands that the next government:

  • Build 90,000 social homes a year for the next 10 years
  • Make private renting affordable and secure
  • Improve the quality and safety of rented homes
  • Strengthen and clarify housing rights.
‘Tackle the housing emergency head-on’

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, writing for Inside Housing, said: “No party can consider itself ready to lead the country unless it is willing to tackle the housing emergency head-on.

“This means taking bold action to rebuild our housing system on the generational principle it was designed on: to provide the homes our country needs.”

She added: “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.”

‘Private rental sector has more than doubled’

Ms Neate says: “The chronic shortage of social homes has meant the size of the private rental sector has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

“And a lack of effective regulation means that private renters are navigating the highest recorded levels of rent, poor conditions and the threat of an unfair eviction.”

She adds: “People are trapped in poor-quality homes that they can barely afford, unable to save and having to cut back on essentials to pay their bills.”

Private renting is ‘too expensive and insecure’

According to Shelter, its frontline services hear from people every day in ‘desperate and terrifying situation’ because there aren’t enough affordable homes and private renting is ‘too expensive and insecure’.

The charity says that for decades, successive governments have failed to build enough social homes.

As a result, 1.2 million households are currently stuck on social housing waiting lists, and there are 130,000 homeless children are staying in temporary accommodation – the highest ever recorded.

Ms Neate says that a new generation of social homes to rent is the only sustainable solution and it is the only housing tenure that’s affordable because rents are tied to local incomes.

To improve the quality and safety of rented homes, Shelter is calling for better management, robust regulation and proper enforcement standards for both social and private rented sectors.

It also says that local authorities need stronger powers to hold criminal landlords to account.

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