If you're a renter in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your housing situation is largely decided by politicians in the devolved assemblies/parliament (delete as appropriate).
That means a lot of the policies in the Renter Manifesto relate only to England. But this election will still affect you and renters in devolved nations - there are a few issues where Westminster still calls the shots:
- Housing benefit - levels of housing benefit and how it is managed is decided by the Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions - that includes Universal Credit which is responsible for many tenants getting into arrears throughout the UK. We're calling for housing benefit levels that reflect market rents and stop sanctions and delays that cause rent arrears.
- Immigration checks - under "Right to Rent" landlords are required to check the immigration status of their tenants, effectively forcing them to act as border guards. The penalties of getting it wrong are severe so many landlords are simply refusing to let to people with minority ethnic backgrounds or foreign names. We are calling for Right to Rent to be scrapped.
- No DSS Discrimination - the Equality Act protects people throughout the UK from discrimination because of characteristics like sex and disability. Benefit discrimination - symbolised by "No DSS" adverts - disproportionately affects women and people with disabilities. We are calling for benefit discrimination to be outlawed under the Equality Act.
- Houses for people not profit - speculation in the housing market by investors who don't care about providing long term homes has been driven by weak controls on bank lending and a tax system that takes more from workers than people whose property rises in value. We want to see a fairer property tax system and an end to mortgages that encourage investors to buy up existing homes.
We need MPs from throughout the UK to support our demands on these issues in the next Parliament.