If you’re unhappy about housing, vote

I was shocked to see that an election debate was cancelled due to lack of interest in Lincoln yesterday.

The event was organised for those over 50 to ‘question candidates’ on the key issues they face, but just 10 people signed up.

Fortunately though, there is another chance to have your say – whatever age you are! You can sign up to the Lincoln Debate, organised by The Lincolnite, Lincolnshire Echo and BBC Radio Lincolnshire on the May 4 2015.

If you are unhappy with your housing situation – you should. I have only started to work with politicians and on government policy work over the last 18 months.

What I know is that unless MPs and local councillors hear daily about your housing issues, they think it’s not something that’s important to you.

If you don’t shout about the fact you aren’t happy about your housing situation or that of your kids or mum and dad or elderly relative – then nothing will change.

Currently there is a huge amount of work being done by the property industry to raise the profile of the housing crisis. We have a march in London on March 17 to Westminster, called ‘Homes for Britain’ especially to raise the need for affordable homes.

I’ve written a report on the Private Rented Sector, calling for more education and protection for both landlords and tenants to make sure they can rent properties in a good state of repair, happily.

Other organisations such as Crisis are highlighting that new statistics show “2,744 people slept rough on any one night last year – up 55% since 2010”. So of course, they want more help and support – and for a nation as rich as ours, we shouldn’t allow this to happen.

But as an industry alone, we can’t make changes without you, as voters, making a noise to your local MPs and councillors. So what should and could you be doing?

For me, in Lincolnshire, it’s important to write to your local MP – or email them through the individual websites they have. Tell them:

  1. What you want
  2. What you can afford
  3. Problems you have had and the impact it has had on your life
  4. What you want them to do about it
  5. What difference an affordable, decent roof over your head would make

Of course, they aren’t miracle workers, they have to work within the rules of the system and do their best to represent everyone, even when the requirements are conflicting.

But now is the time to let them know what you need. Let them know that you believe to solve housing issues, much of it caused by population increases, we need to build more homes. And as long as they are designed well, we should see them as a positive influence on the local economy.

For every £1 spent on new build, over £2.80 is generated, much of it back into the local, Lincolnshire economy. New homes are more energy efficient, so cheaper to run and require less costly and hassle maintenance.

Developers like Barratt even offer 5 year guarantees on their fixtures and fittings, such as the appliances, so even more protection to allow you to enjoy your new home, rather than end up with lots of unexpected renovation bills.

And if you are struggling to afford a home, let them know. Anything over 30% of your income is considered tough to afford, so knowing your salary, you can now let them know what monthly budget you have to spend and the actual cost of housing you have to choose from.

Don’t just leave it to property experts to raise the issues, if we work together, we can get things changed!

For more help on buying, renting, letting and investing, visit www.propertychecklists.co.uk.