Profile Books has acquired Tenants: Stories of Britain’s Housing Shame, the first book by award-winning journalist and campaigner Vicky Spratt.
In 2016, in Spratt's role as deputy editor of The Debrief, she started a campaign called Make Renting Fair to highlight the plight of "Generation Rent". The campaign was a success, resulting in the government’s announcement of a ban on letting agency fees for tenants. But it soon became clear to Spratt that this "hard-fought triumph had only scratched the surface of the mammoth housing crisis that Britain faces now".
Taking the story of that award-winning campaign as her starting point, in Tenants Spratt explores how and why the British dream of homeownership has "broken down" and shines an "urgent, startling light" on the lives behind the crisis – from the twentysomething told to look “more homeless” in order to qualify for help to the London estate agent preoccupied by the dubious ethics of his trade and the women for whom safe and affordable housing is quite literally a matter of life and death, said the publisher.
Profile editor Louisa Dunnigan bought UK and Commonwealth rights (including audio, e-book and serial) from Emma Paterson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.
Dunnigan said she was "thrilled" to be publishing Spratt's book, which will "shine a radical light on the history, politics and conditions of renting, through a compassionate and intimate account of the lives of those most affected”.
Spratt is deputy editor of The Debrief. She wrote and co-presented "Generation Right", a documentary about the politics of young people, for BBC Radio 4 and has written for a number of publications including VICE, the Evening Standard and the Spectator. Her recent documentary about abortion rights in Ireland and Northern Ireland has been nominated for the Family Planning Association’s Rosemary Goodchild Award for sexual health journalism.
Spratt added: “Housing is the most urgent issue faced by our country. If our homes are unaffordable and unstable how can we expect anything else in our society to work as it should? Our homes are the centres of our lives, from there everything else extends. As a broadcast journalist at the BBC I covered the housing crisis regularly, by fronting The Debrief’s successful Make Renting Fair I was able to do something, albeit small, about the problem.
"Tenants will go further, telling the untold stories of those at the sharp end of decades of political negligence and, I hope, galvanizing people all over the country to take action.”
Tenants will be published in autumn 2019.