The case for reforming private renting

Based on conversations with Britain's growing army of private renters, IPPR's latest report is a timely reminder of the scale of the crisis—one that co‑operative solutions can play a key role in solving.


Yesterday, the IPPR released its interim report, the case for reforming private renting. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of our households will be renting privately by the end of 2021, but the sector is in need of drastic reform.

More and more of us are living in rented accommodation, including 3 million children, but concerns about security, affordability, quality and agency continue to plague the sector. The Co-operative Party has a clear plan to help tackle these issues and to put power back into the hands of renters.

The report, which is based on dozens of conversations with both tenants and landlords, notes that 1 in 10 tenancies that come to an end do so due to landlord termination, often through no-fault evictions. Not only does this create an insecure, unstable environment, it is also a major contributor to homelessness, accounting for 28% of all local authority homeless acceptances. Private renting is increasingly unaffordable too, with spiralling rents and high up-front costs blocking access to many.

Where housing is accessible, is it often incredibly poor quality.

Just 29% of people say that the private renting sector provides good quality accommodation, and standards are consistently found to be worse in private rented accommodation when compared with other forms of tenure.

Alongside these significant problems, the wider issue of a lack of agency and representation runs throughout the IPPR report. Too often, renters lack the necessary knowledge to challenge rogue landlords and advocate for their own rights. The report also notes renters’ lack of political representation, with renters’ unions often suffering from a lack of support and respect.

The Co-operative Party’s guide, Standing up for private renters, provides clear and innovative ideas for tackling the issues outlined by the IPPR. It emphasises the importance of empowering private renters to hold landlords to account, encouraging the formation of private renting associations.

These groups unite tenants to work together to call for improvement of conditions, cheaper rents and an end to unfair evictions. The guide also calls on local councillors to form advice hotlines and awareness campaigns, providing a crucial one-stop-shop for legal support, advocacy and education. By putting power back into the hands of tenants and encouraging co-operative action, renting associations across the UK are achieving real change.

The Co-operative Party believes that services work best when people are at their heart. The private renting sector needs change, and co-operation provides a clear and unique opportunity to help change it in the interests of us all.