New research from Weroom, the social network for flatsharing, reveals that incredibly 34% of British people have no idea which of the major political parties are the most dedicated to improving living conditions for renters, just days before an important by-election.
At a time when the number of people renting in the UK exceeds nine million and home ownership has fallen to its lowest level for quarter of a century, Weroom’s research suggests that a large proportion of Brits are unaware of major political party policy when it comes to living conditions for renters.
Only 19% of people believe the Labour party is the most dedicated to improving conditions for renters, while just 7% think the Conservatives would be the best in improving circumstances through their policy-making.
Half of Brits claimed they would like to see a dedicated renting minister be appointed to help manage situations for the growing number of renters or flatsharers across the UK, with 47% stating a vetting scheme for tenants and landlords should be employed to enable greater stability and a fairer system.
Thomas Villeneuve, CEO and Founder of www.Weroom.com, said:
“It comes as a shock that we’re just a few days before an important by-election but yet a high proportion of Brits are unaware of who the most dedicated party is to improving conditions for renters or flatsharers.
“From cleanliness, additional fees, damages – the list of tenant and landlord disputes is endless and as more people are forced into renting due to the rise in the average house price, it is more important than ever before for the UK’s politicians to communicate the changes they’ll make to the existing policies surrounding flatsharing and renting.
While these changes need to be made, there are smaller measures that can be taken to improve the UK rental and flatsharing experience. One is ensuring transparency in the process of finding and selecting flatmates, landlords and tenants and giving them the ability to ask the questions that often go unanswered ahead of signing up to a contract”.
The study also showed that 20% of Brits claimed that landlords should include TV license fees, water, gas and electricity bills within the overall rent and 53% of Brits felt their landlords should be required to fix any issues reported to them in under seven days.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average UK house price jumped 11.7% in the year to July 2014, reaching £272,000. However, wages have plateaued since the financial crisis, making it harder for people to save for a deposit – leading to an increasing number of people stuck in a ‘rent trap’.
Almost half of Brits (49%) thought people would be more likely to flatshare if they had the opportunity to get to know potential housemates before moving in and amongst those who have flatshared, only 21% of those who have flat shared regarded saving for a house deposit as a benefit. For most, the benefits lie in the company of housemates at evenings and weekends (33%) and the added disposable income (34%). For many (35%), a benefit of flatsharing is the ability to afford to live in their location of choice.