In Bristol we face a housing crisis.
We have almost 18,000 households (and growing) on our waiting list for social housing, along with over 1,100 households in temporary accommodation. The cost of renting in this city is one key cause alongside the lack of security that renters have in the private rented sector.
Over the past decade the cost of renting in the city grew by 52%, whilst wages only increased by 24% over the same period and current levels of inflation are far outstripping any growth in income. The spiralling costs mean housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable, pushing many further away from their place of work, family, and support networks, impacting across sectors and low and middle income households
This is why we have launched a Living Rent Commission.
We are bringing the best, partnership focused organisations together to explore the issues facing renters.
The principle aims of the commission are to:
- Improve affordability of the private rented sector
- Understand the impact of regulation on rent prices including on housing quality and maintenance
- Identifying the most effective rent controls
- Consider what other powers are required
- Consider how to empower tenants’ rights
The powers needed to ensure the rental market is accessible and works for all do not exist. The commission will make recommendations on possible rent stabilisation powers. The powers come from government and so we will work with Westminster on policy development to reform the private rented sector, enabling Bristol to become a Living Rent City.
While we will focus on delivering change for the tens of thousands of renters in Bristol, we are also making links with other urban areas and could see this work pave the way for rent reform that benefits millions across the country. This is our time to make the case for a Living Rent, and it has never been more important given the current cost of living crisis with no immediate end in sight.
We have a track record of supporting action to improve conditions for renters. Whether that be lobbying for the end to no fault evictions, that are a huge driver of homelessness in our city, or campaigning to bring in the eviction ban during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been pushing for renter reform for some time.
With cross party support, I wrote to the Secretary of State setting out the city’s support for the Renters Reform Coalition proposals for change. We will lobby to ensure these issues remain on the agenda. I will continue to fight for better protection for renters and ensure they are not driven out of Bristol.
So how can people contribute to the work of the Living Rent Commission?
We will be ensuring a wide range of people have the opportunity to be heard, including the lived experience of what it is like on the ground. I am grateful to the organisations who are prepared to work together on the Advisory Board and other organisations who will have plenty of opportunity to shape the work.
Get involved, so Bristol can have a clear voice on this – we need a Living Rent that is manageable for people and works for Bristol.
Want to know more? Get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of Living Rent Commission Advisory Board as at 26/07/22:
- Fair Renting Campaign
- Generation Rent
- ALL Wessex
- Bristol Older People’s Forum
- Ashley Community Housing
- Black South West Network
- UWE Student’s Union
- UOB Student’s Union
- We Can Make
- Trowers and Hamlins
- Brighter Places