Renter will outnumber Home Owners Across Many Areas by 2021

By the time of the next census, over 100 MPs will represent seats where a majority of people are renters, research by Generation Rent has found.

The number of MPs who have more constituents who rent than own their home has risen from 38 in 2001 (6% of MPs) to 65 in 2011 (10%). If home ownership remains unaffordable and this trend continues, renters will start to outnumber home owners in 104 seats (16%) by 2021.

This represents a huge increase in political power for a large section of the population that has long been neglected by successive governments. In 2011, 35% of the UK population rented their home and Generation Rent is calling on MPs to give them a voice in Westminster by becoming “Renter Champions”.

Generation Rent compared census data for each Parliamentary constituency to find the proportion of the population that rents – either from a private landlord, the council or a housing association – and how this changed between 2001 and 2011. The 2021 forecast was then made by applying this trend to the 2011 figures.

Forty-nine of the predicted 104 renter majorities are in London, and large northern cities contain seats that have been dominated by renters for a long period. Traditionally these seats have been Labour strongholds – 50 of the 65 renter majority seats in 2011.

But renters are growing as a political force in more marginal and right-leaning areas. Of the 39 seats that are forecast to become renter majorities by the next census, 25 are Labour-held, 11 are held by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Respect have one apiece. Safe Tory seats such as Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West and Northampton South are projected to be renter majorities by 2021.

As politicians set their sights on the 2015 Election, Generation Rent is challenging every MP to become a Renter Champion and commit to making the housing market fit for people who rent, so that renting can be a genuine choice rather than a second class tenure of last resort. The campaign is particularly calling on the 104 MPs who will likely be representing more renters than owners by the end of the next Parliament.

Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: “As home ownership gets increasingly out of reach, ever more people will find themselves as permanent renters throughout their lives. Unless MPs adapt their priorities to reflect renters’ needs then 100 MPs will be irrelevant to their voters by 2020. MPs have one parliament to adapt and we expect any government elected in May next year to be proposing pro-renter policies by June.”