London renters may be on the way to wielding more political influence, if predictions about the number of constituencies that could be renter majorities by 2021 are correct. More MPs representing more renters should mean better policies being tabled for renters, instead of Westminster trying to maintain the homeowner-favouring status quo.
Generation Rent has taken census data from 2001 and 2011 at a ward level, matched it up with constituency boundaries for 2001 and 2010 (to make sure like compared with like, as there were significant boundary shifts between those two elections) and then used the data to project what percentage of the population will be renting (privately and from a council or housing association) in 2021. If correct, then 49 of London's 73 MPs will be representing more renters than home owners, up from 32 as it currently stands. 2021 may seem a long way off, but actually the aforementioned MPs will need to start catering to their constituents during the next parliament if they don't want a voter backlash in 2020.
While prediction is never an accurate science, some of the figures look startling. Tory-held Enfield North, Croydon Central, Finchley and Golders Green, and Hendon are slated to go from around a third renting in 2001 to 50% or more in 2021. West/North West London could also experience a residential shift: Brent North, Ealing North, Hayes and Harlington, Ealing Southall, Ealing Central and Acton (all Labour except the last, which is Conservative) are all in line to undergo a similar increase in renters. Edmonton and Croydon North could see their number of renters nearly double.
This will also affect councils, the London Assembly and the Mayor. Want to get elected? You're going to have to start doing something about tenants' rights, probably involving stabilising private rent levels, making 'affordable' housing genuinely affordable and creating a secure form of tenancy. Policies like building more houses are only useful if they include guarantees that developers won't flog them off to Buy to Let landlords first, or if people can save for a deposit (Generation Rent points out that renters spend 40% of their income on rent, compared with mortgage owners who spend around 20%).
If you want graphics that illustrate why London MPs should be very, very afraid of their new renting constituents, take a look at this CityMetric article which reproduces a map and chart from London: The Information Capital on private rent levels (and which also quotes us. Cheers, guys).