Saturday, 26 January 2013

No action to improve private renting: Alok Sharma - out of touch again!

There was at late notice short debate on Wednesday on the private rented sector.  Both Reading MPs voted (neither spoke as far as I know).

Alok Sharma and Rob Wilson voted against this:

That this House 
recognises the private rented sector’s growing role in meeting housing need; 
notes that there are 8.5 million people, including more than one million families with children, now renting privately; 
recognises there are major implications of the growth in this tenure for families and communities in Britain today; 
notes with concern the lack of protection afforded to tenants and landlords by the unregulated lettings market and the confusing, inconsistent fees and charges charged by letting and management agents; 
further notes the lack of stability, security and affordability for families and other renters; 
further notes the increasing number of complaints about rogue landlords and the poor standards in the sector compared with other tenures; 
calls on the Government to regulate residential lettings and management agents and to end the confusing, inconsistent charges regime, making fees easily understandable, upfront and comparable across agents; 
further calls on the Government to promote longer term tenancies where tenants want them; 
and finally calls on the Government to introduce a national register of landlords and empower local authorities to improve standards and deal with rogue landlords.


And for this:
That this House recognises the importance of a vibrant private rented sector in providing a diverse range of quality accommodation to those who do not want or currently cannot buy their own home; supports action to be taken against the small minority of rogue landlords, without burdening the whole sector with unnecessary costs; warns that excessive red tape would force up rents, reduce choice for tenants and undermine future investment; believes that the Government should work with councils to promote their wide range of existing legal powers; welcomes the Government’s action against “beds in sheds” criminal landlords and steps to tackle social housing fraud; and supports the Government’s new £200 million “build to rent” fund and the £10 billion in debt guarantees for investment in the long-term rental market.

In other words the status quo not action.  This is a growing issue in Reading.  Just another example of how out of touch Cameron's men in Reading are.

I emailed Alok Sharma before the debate as follows (I was very busy on Tuesday so I used Shelter's template):

Dear Mr Sharma,

On Wednesday 23 January, MPs will be debating private renting in Parliament. I'm writing to you to ask you to attend the debate, and to fight for a better deal for renters.

The proportion of homes rented privately has rocketed by 69 per cent since 2001. More than 8.5 million people now rent privately. And it’s not just students and young professionals any more - almost a third of renting households are families.

A generation of renters are trapped in expensive, insecure, poor quality housing that doesn’t meet their needs. I want you to stand up for renters in Parliament.

- 48 per cent of families worry about unaffordable rent increases – and rents have risen twice as fast as wages over the last decade 
- Renters are 11 times more likely to move than people with a mortgage – and children who move home frequently do less well in school 
- 36 per cent of rented homes don’t even meet the Decent Homes Standard

As a voter, it’s important to me that we reform renting so that it’s fit for our times, and gives renters the stability they need.
Will you attend the debate on Wednesday? Please stand up for:

- tough enforcement against rogue landlords
- more securities for families in private rentals
- better protection from rip-off letting agent fees and bad practice.