It is also feared that changes to voter registration have seen tens of thousands of North East voters fall off the electoral register, with figures suggesting that as many as 18,000 people – particularly renters – have dropped off the register in Newcastle, 13,000 in Gateshead and 6000 in Sunderland.
Britain’s 9 million renters are tipped to play a decisive role in the election with 35% of people living in the private rented sector describing themselves as floating voters.
Individual Electoral Registration, which came into effect last summer, sees each individual responsible for registering themselves to vote rather than one person in a household registering everyone.
Estimates suggest that the changes may have seen as many as 1 million people lose the right to vote, in particular renters, students and first time voters.
You can register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote until Monday April 20.
Ajay Jagota is founder and Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s most innovative sales and lettings business, KIS. He is one of less than five Ajay Jagotas registered to vote in the UK and has the country’s 4150th most common surname:
The firm is famous for being the first letting agent in the country to abolish deposits, replacing them with a one-of-a-kind landlord insurance policy offering guaranteed rent, deposit replacement, legal assistance and round the clock third party emergency home repairs.
He said: “You hear people say that all the political parties are the same, but in this election that couldn’t be further from the truth – and nowhere is the difference between the parties more fundamental than housing.
“Labour are promising to ban letting agent fees and caps rent increases, which may have forced rents up in Scotland, while the Tories are pledged to minimising excessive red tape in the hope that keeps them down. These are issues which could have a huge impact on the lives of renters.
“As one of the UK’s five registered Ajay Jagotas, my message is this: If you live in a rented home you could decide this election. But you can’t do it if you can’t vote.
“The problem is simple, renters move about more. One in three of them have lived in their current home less than a year and considering all the things you have to do when you move house, remembering to register to vote is one of those things it’s easy to overlook, especially as you don’t do it very often.
“But you can change that online in less than five minutes – less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.
“This election is important for landlord too – we’ve already seen talk this week of them ‘lining their pockets’ at the public’s expense through housing benefits payments. They’re no more lining their pockets than nurses, fire fighters or teachers are – they’re providing a vital service and being remunerated for it. This election is critical for them too.”
KIS manage properties for landlords in every corner of the North East from branches across Tyne and Wear, and were named Letting Agent of the Year in the 2013 Landlord and Letting Awards and a runner up at the 2014 awards. The firm expanded into residential sales in 2014.