Labour councilors in Bristol are to demand that the Mayor directs his council officers to focus on improving living standards for the thousands of Bristol people who are in rented accommodation in the city.
“We want to see some positive action right now to improve the human cost of the housing crisis we face in Bristol,” says Cllr Margaret Hickman, Labour, Lawrence Hill.
– over 14,000 applicants on the Council’s HomeChoice waiting list,
– a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in Bristol
– an ever-increasing affordability gap between wage levels and house prices and private sector rents
– and an increasing number of properties in the private rented sector not meeting the Decent Homes standard
– fewer affordable homes being built
A motion requiring a much more pro-active response to improving standards from the city’s landlords will go before council on Tuesday 17th March.
“The Mayor doesn’t seem to be making much progress in meeting his own targets for supplying affordable homes in Bristol – but he could instantly improve living conditions for private tenants in the city,” says Cllr Margaret Hickman of Lawrence Hill ward who will be proposing the motion.
Labour are endorsing the grass-roots tenants organisation ACORN which has produced a Bristol Ethical Lettings Charter.
“Labour want the whole council to back this Lettings Charter and get the Mayor to instruct council officers to contact existing and new private landlords and encourage them to sign up to the Charter to give tenants a fair deal and decent living space.
“We think we should respond to a growing grass-roots movement who have tapped into a nerve in the inner city. Fair-minded councillors, we hope, will instantly see that just now many tenants are getting a raw deal,” says Cllr Hickman.
ACORN’s Bristol Ethical Lettings Charter – among other things – seeks to establish fair rents, security of tenure, to phase out lettings agents’ fees, wants fair play over money held as deposits and demands that properties are maintained promptly to a good standard.
“This strikes us as establishing a fair and equal deal between landlord and tenant – one that matches the fair dealing that everyone can readily find from any trader providing any other service in the city,” says Cllr Hickman.