Two Brighton MPs refuse to back better tenants' rights

Two Brighton MPs refuse to back better tenants' rights

Brighton and Hove MPs Mike Weatherley and Simon Kirby voted against proposals to give renters the right to three year tenancies yesterday, following a debate in the House of Commons. Caroline Lucas voted for the proposals and spoke in the debate.

Brighton and Hove MPs Mike Weatherley and Simon Kirby voted against proposals to give renters the right to three year tenancies yesterday, following a debate in the House of Commons. Caroline Lucas voted for the proposals and spoke in the debate.

The MP for Brighton Pavilion said people in Brighton were being forced to spend up to 80% of their income on rent, and many were being forced out of the city altogether. 

She told the Commons that private renters come to her constituency surgeries "in desperation," struggling with housing costs and fuel poverty. "Many are living in damp, leaky, poorly maintained homes," she said.

"The norm of short-term contracts leaves private rented sector tenants without security in their homes, and at risk of eviction and unfair rent increases. That volatility is particularly harmful for families with children, who often have to move schools as a result," she added.

MPs debated a motion from Labour that proposed banning letting agent fees and introducing a standard three-year tenancy. The government opposed the proposals and said they would announce a model tenancy agreement later in the summer. Labour's motion was defeated by 276 votes to 226.

Brighton and Hove MPs Mike Weatherley and Simon Kirby both opposed the motion.

Lucas supported Labour's motion and tabled an amendment to increase the proposed tenancy length to five years.

The Government's refusal to back longer term tenancies could yet hit the General Election prospects of both coalition parties. 43 of the government MPs who voted against the proposal – including Mike Weatherley and Simon Kirby – represent constituencies where private sector renters outweigh the MP's majority by more than 3 to 1. Thirty-four of those MPs are Conservative and 9 are LibDem and the loss of these seats would overturn the coalition's majority of 78.

Alex Hilton, Director of Generation Rent:

"We thank Caroline Lucas for standing up for renters in Brighton in yesterday's debate. Unfortunately it seems Mike Weatherley and Simon Kirby have yet to grasp the importance of a secure and stable home for their constituents who are stuck renting. If they want to keep their jobs next year they need to start listening to renters."

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  • commented 2014-10-04 08:16:17 +0100
    I am a constituent of Simon Kirby, and I am a renting tenant, spending more than half my salary on rent. To hear that Simon Kirby did not support the motion will certainly swing my vote away from him.