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Summit looks at ways to tackle the renting crisis in Bristol

Summit looks at ways to tackle the renting crisis in Bristol

People who rent homes in Bristol came together earlier this month to share their experiences of housing in the city and look at options for making renting affordable for everyone.

22 March 2022

 

Bristol City Council teamed up with the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign (supported by Shelter), and community union ACORN, to host the event on Wednesday 2 March, to look at the possibility of introducing rent controls in the city, as well as discussing enforcement powers and other issues facing renters.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees introduced the summit and asked for people to help find solutions. He said: “Housing is an absolute priority for this administration. Everyone needs secure housing to thrive, and yet the private rental sector is too often unaffordable.

“That’s why I made a manifesto commitment to campaign for the power to introduce rent controls to make Bristol an affordable living city, and we are calling on government to give us the power to regulate rents.

“We need to understand what rent controls could look like in Bristol, to allow us to take a step towards tackling our local renting crisis.”

The summit heard from people who have been personally affected by the renting crisis. People were asked to identify ways to work together across the city to tackle discrimination in renting and discuss what rent controls could look like for Bristol.   

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “Our city is facing a rent crisis. We have ever-increasing rents, no-fault evictions still in effect and demand exceeding supply. There are some homes that are not even fit for habitation, in a private rental sector where tenants can struggle to enforce the few rights they have.

“Private rents are out of control and the renting system is not fair, stable or safe. Unaffordable private rents are deepening inequality, as people on lower incomes are at growing risk of homelessness.

“It’s time for a reset in the relationship and for the national government to give us the powers we need locally to properly regulate privately rented housing.

“We will be seeking more views from people affected by the renting crisis across Bristol, through further engagement, taking place soon. We want to find a solution that works for people who feel they are being forced out of the city.”

There are over 134,000 people currently renting privately in Bristol, representing almost one-third of the population. Over the last decade, private rents in Bristol have increased by 52 per cent, while wages have only risen by 24 per cent. On average, Bristol residents now need to spend almost nine times their annual salary to buy a house.

Sarah Fitzgerald from the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign, who helped to organise the summit, said: “The Fair Renting Campaign has called on the local council to make renting in Bristol fair and affordable for everyone, and they are listening.

“This renters’ summit was an important opportunity for Bristol's renters to add their voice to the call, to tell their stories, and to help shape the future of Bristol's private rental market.

“From ending discrimination to exploring rent control measures, this is a moment where we can start to make the changes Bristol needs, and this summit is the first step.”

Jo Sparks, ACORN Bristol branch secretary, said: “We really need to all come together at events like this to lobby for powers to come down to local authorities. We believe houses should be a home first, not a financial asset. We have consistently campaigned for the council to push for rent controls and welcome the Bristol administration’s renewed commitment on this issue.

ACORN members will continue to work with the Mayor and Councillor Tom Renhard to win affordable rents across the city.”
The summit took place on Wednesday 2 March. To find out more visit https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/councilhomes

Contact Information
External Communications
Newsdesk
Bristol City Council
newsdesk@bristol.gov.uk


Notes to editors:

With support from Shelter, local renters have launched the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign - to expose the realities of renting and demand urgent change. The campaign has been growing since 2020 and has over 2,000 supporters, and a leadership team of local renters with direct experience and a willingness to work together to find effective solutions. 

ACORN is a community union of thousands of people across the country who use their strength in numbers to win things they can’t win alone. Whether that’s rent controls, decent public transport, an end to speeding on our streets, or proper public services. There’s over 1,300 members in Bristol and you can find out more online.


 

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