Our vision for better renters' rights

The government has the chance to make lasting change to the private rented system through reforms in the upcoming Renters’ Reform Bill.

Sign the petition

Our vision for better renters' rights

The government has the chance to make lasting change to the private rented system through reforms in the upcoming Renters’ Reform Bill.

Sign the petition

In England, over 11 million people are living in a private rented sector that drastically needs reform.

The Renters’ Reform Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change this broken system for good. So, in anticipation of the new bill, we’ve teamed up with Nationwide Building Society to outline a vision that will help transform living standards now as well as for future generations.

Too many renters struggle with unsafe homes and are mistreated

  • 69% of renters reported experiencing one or more serious problems with the condition of their home

  • A quarter of renters who suffered poor conditions in their home believe these were hidden from them and only came to light after moving in

  • Three-quarters of a million private renters have had a landlord or agent enter their home without permission

Infographic: Broken tap dripping

Private renters are struggling in poor quality homes. They also experience serious problems with landlord, housing management agent and letting agent practice.

The worst problems in the private rented sector are disproportionally experienced by renters who live on the lowest household incomes, receive housing benefit, are people of colour, are young, are not working (but not retired) and/or have children in the household.

Solution: A national landlord register

With a national landlord register, all landlords and housing management agents would have to register themselves, the properties they manage, details of the letting agents they work with and the rents they charge. This register would be the foundation for developing greater accountability in the sector.

If a national landlord register was introduced, renters would be able to make more informed decisions about who to rent from and trust that properties meet basic safety standards.

Renters are having to deal with unprofessional letting agents

Private renters have been suffering as a result of poor practice from letting agents.

I think it's shocking when you've got so-called 'professional' letting agents and estate agents who either say they don't know the law, or they're pretending they do know it and getting it wrong, but it's just surprising to me how many professional or so-called professional ones seem to get it wrong as well.

Solution: The regulation of all letting agents

All letting agents need to be held to account by a code of practice. Additionally, all letting agents must be sufficiently qualified and licensed.

Regulating letting agents would be a step towards improving letting agent practice for renters.

Councils are too under-resourced to assist

Councils are underfunded. This is undermining their ability to play a proactive role in making sure homes meet acceptable standards and improving landlord and agent practice.

[Local authority] has one and a half tenancy relations officers for the entire city. I think that might be a problem. You know what I mean? It seems like that's a very, very, very small amount of people to be looking after all the private tenants.

Solution: More resource for local authorities to help ensure good standards

The government must better support councils so that they can hire enough Tenancy Relation Officers, Environmental Health Practitioners and any housing staff they need to address poor housing standards and practice.

If local authorities are better resourced, then they will be better able to assist renters who are struggling with poor conditions and landlord practice.

Renters lack power and security to assert their rights

Living under the constant threat of eviction creates an imbalance of power and undermines renters’ right to challenge poor housing conditions and practice, as they fear repercussions that could leave them homeless.

Nearly one in five (18%) renters who have experienced disrepair in their homes in the past five years have not reported them to their landlord for fear of being evicted.

Infographic: Four houses with one singled out as broken

Solution: Abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions

The government must abolish section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions to give renters the security they need to confidently assert their rights.

Renters will then have the stability they require to complain to their landlord or council about poor conditions without the fear of being evicted.

Renters are facing discrimination

Discrimination is rife within the private rented sector.

Over 180,000 renters have said that they face discrimination in the sector due to their race, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation and/or disability

Infographic: House with a stop sign overlaid

Solution: Abolish unfair and exclusionary policies like the ‘right to rent’

Nobody should face prejudice in their search for a new home. But discriminatory policies such as the ‘right to rent’, which causes discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality, are contributing to the prejudice that renters face. The government must abolish such unfair and exclusionary policies.

Join the movement

We need to rethink renting. The government must bring forward the Renters’ Reform Bill and commit to transforming living standards in the private rented sector.

We are calling for reforms that will help to:

  • improve housing standards

  • enhance landlord, housing management agent and letting agent practice

  • empower private renters to enforce their rights

  • tackle discrimination

Want to know more? Read our report, Time for change: How to make renting fairer for private renters

Download the report

Thank you to Nationwide

We created this report in partnership with Nationwide. For 19 years we've worked together to realise our shared vision of everyone having a safe place to call home.

Nationwide Building Society logo

How you can help

For too long our renting system has failed the millions who rely on it for a safe and secure place to call home. Together we can demand a better deal for our country's 11 million private renters.

A family sitting around a table laughing together as they eat breakfast