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The majority of private renters claimed they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of accommodation they lived in, according to a new English Housing Survey (EHS) by the Government. Based on data from 2017-18, 84 per cent of them were happy with existing accommodation, but this was outstripped by owner-occupiers.

As much as 95 per cent of owner-occupiers were found to be satisfied with their current accommodation.

The EHS also revealed that private renters were less satisfied with tenure overall − just 69 per cent of them reported satisfaction in tenures, compared to 98 per cent of owner-occupiers feeling satisfied with theirs.

Alan Boswell – MPU

The EHS is one of the oldest continuous surveys run by the Government, having first been reported back in 1967. It aims to study the housing circumstances of English people, as well as housing conditions and energy efficiency of housing overall

Large numbers of private renters

The private rented sector (PRS) was reported to be the second-largest tenure, when it came to living arrangements in England in 2017-18, the EHS discovered. The PRS was home to as many as 4.5 million households in 2017-18, or 19 per cent of all English households.

By comparison, the EHS found that 4 million households, or 17 per cent of all households, lived in the social rented sector. Added to this, the EHS recorded that there were 14.8 million owner-occupiers, who made up the remaining 64 per cent of households in England.

Private renters were estimated to spend 33 per cent of their household income (including Housing Benefit) on rent, compared to social renters, who spent 28 per cent of theirs on it, while mortgagors spent 17 per cent of their income on rent.

Shifting rental market

The EHS found that most PRS tenancies ended because the tenant wanted to move. As many as 72 per cent of those who had lived in a home for less than three years decided to leave because they decided to. Job-related reasons were responsible for 18 per cent of people moving homes in the PRS.

Of those who moved despite not wishing to, 12 per cent had been asked to by landlords, 10 per cent had reached mutual agreements with landlords and another 8 per cent had simply moved due to reaching the end of their fixed-term tenancies.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) responded to the survey, believing it reflected how the PRS was actually becoming easier for tenants to live in, as they claimed rents had become cheaper for tenants since 2014-15.

David Smith, RLA’s policy director, added: “Today’s EHS dispels the myth that private renting means insecure tenancies and ever-increasing costs…As Ministers look at ending so-called ‘no-fault’ eviction, the survey finds that a large majority of those who moved out of their home did so because they wanted to.”

Despite revealing cheaper rents and satisfaction from a majority of private renters, the survey added that as many as 63 per cent of private renters had no savings, and only 11 per cent of respondents admitted to having savings of £16,000 or more.

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Steven Taylor
Steven reports on the daily churn of the property news cycle, often reporting on the stories you may have missed during the week. He covers a range of topics, including market sentiment, new findings and announcements by policy-makers.

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