Private renters now have potentially more political power, with Generation Rent analysis finding that 194 constituencies in England have populations containing 20% or more private renters, up from 114 in 2011.
Whereas renters had previously been relatively concentrated in inner cities, with a large voice in a small number of seats, the search for cheaper rents and family-friendly homes has pulled renters into suburbs and satellite towns of London and other major cities, and as a result their votes affect a larger share of the political map.
However, Generation Rent warns that this increased influence depends on renters registering to vote, estimating that in December 2022, there were 2.3 million missing voters, with a larger share of these likely to be private renters due to more frequent home moves.
Areas with high private renter populations have been strongly linked to large falls in the number of people on the electoral roll since the General Election. It found that private renters are more than twice as likely not to be registered as the population as a whole.
While students are more likely to be registered elsewhere as well as simply not registered in the first place, other renters that are under-registered include those in HMOs, converted flats and the 25-34 age range.
Dan Wilson Craw (pictured), deputy chief executive, says renters’ political power has grown, and could make a difference in many more seats at future elections.
He adds: “But this new political influence is limited if we aren’t registered to vote in the first place, and it is too easy to fall off the register after a stressful house move. We hope this work will help others who are working to widen democratic participation.”