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Lords report accuses private rental sector of being too expensive

A House of Lords report claims that the private rental sector has become ”increasingly unaffordable” and says out welcomes the proliferation of Build To Rent purpose built lettings apartments. 

The report - called Meeting Housing Demand and released this week - says that in 2019/20, the private rented sector accounted for 4.4m or 19 per cent of households in England.

As of 2019/20, private renters had on average lived in their accommodation for 4.3 years, which is considerably shorter than for social renters (12.2 years) or owner-occupiers (17.4 years).


The report says that in 1980, the average working-age family renting privately spent 12 per cent of its income on housing; today it spends almost three times this proportion, 32 per cent, while private renters in London spend an average of 42 per cent of their household income on rent.

It also quotes an independent housing policy consultant saying: “The private rented sector is by far the most expensive, by far the lowest quality and by far the least popular. It is absolutely the worst possible tenure for almost everybody in it.” 

He adds “Most people who are private renting would much rather be in something cheaper and higher quality. Who would not be? That means either social renting or owner occupation. It is absolutely the tenure of last resort.”

The report goes on to say: “Those living in the private rented sector are more likely to live in poor quality, overcrowded conditions than owner–occupiers, and often have limited forms of redress. Many tenants who would previously have been in social housing are now living in expensive private rented accommodation, with their rents subsidised by housing benefit, which is costing the government around £23.4 billion per year. 

“A transition to spending more on the social housing stock would address this problem over time and help meet the most critical needs.

“We welcome the expansion of ‘Build To Rent’ where it contributes towards a net addition to housing supply.”


Despite its scathing comments on the private rental sector, most of the report is actually given over to even stronger criticisms of the planning system, contributing towards the long-term failure of successive governments to meet house building targets.

Committee chair Baroness Neville-Rolfe says: “The government’s ambitious target of 300,000 new homes per year will only be met if government takes action to remove the barriers for housebuilders, particularly for SMEs who 35 years ago built 39 per cent of new homes but now build just 10 per cent.

“Uncertainty and the absence of a clear policy direction has only exacerbated housing problems. Our report provides a package of proposals to help deliver much needed housing and address the critical undersupply of new homes.”

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    The lords, a group of old people how are totally out of touch and spend most of their time there asleep, does anyone take any notice of them ?

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    The PRS is the direct result of Govt housing policy (or lack of it) so its a bit rich to slag us off! Even if it were true that the PRS is 'the tenure of last resort' there are many renters who need us due to the failure of Govt to supply any alternative.

    Oh and by the way, not everyone wants to live in a Council House chosen for them by the LA with no flooring and anti-social neighbours in a grotty part of town!


    In the past I've had ex council tenants who have moved to the PRS for the very reasons of your last paragraph , prepared to pay a little more to live in a better area and a better house.

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    Sounds like a very selective report. After all, having seen numerous reports on ITV news regarding social housing, I really have to question the "lowest quality" statement. After all, any PRS landlord who provided accomodation in that state would probably be prosecuted.
    Expensive? Yes of course it is you old duffers! 6 years of constant state attacks on the sector have increased the costs off business to crazy levels. Guess who pays. What planet are these people on.
    Rant over

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    And they think Build to Rent is going to provide better value (let alone better quality) housing than the current PRS? I cant help but laugh my head off at the utopian naivety from those who should be old enough to know better!

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    The report is probably correct in some areas, cost of rent. As has been mentioned costs have spiralled for Landlords and these have been passed on to reflect a rise in rent. The Government were warned of this and have failed to take on board the cause and effect of the Section 24 tax amendment.
    In addition to this licensing, Electrical checks and more regulation have caused even more rent rises.
    I have just had my tax bill for the last financial year and it is madness the tax i am paying. Another house will go on the market in the new financial year and this will continue from my point of view over the next 2-3 years.
    Government need to wake up to the fact that they are causing most of the rent rises.


    Same here....selling at least one per year...I know selling more than one in a financial year will cost me a bit more in capital gains tax but I'm at the point now where I really don't care and just want to sell everything and get out of the cess pit.

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    Not necessarily areas, but very often properties in the same area or even the same road with a big rental price tag difference. There are some similar houses to mine in same road charging £1’000. pm month more than me and some Flats £200 / £400 pm more than me for sure.

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    Shane I wonder how long before £12’300.c/gains allowance is cut or double for couple as I understand it. What’s so unfair is the way they disadvantage married couples they must want a broken Society, say if they are partners instead they can each nominate a separate house / property as their own and sell tax free ?.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    The Lords need to 'Catch them selves on' to " Affordable Rent " which the Govt have allowed Social Housing to charge up to 30 % ABOVE LHA rate ( which is all that is paid to a PRS tenant )
    You read that right !
    A pair of semi's, one privately rented for say £1000 a month ( for round figures ) and the identical Social housing next door on AR [ sic] that tenants rent will be paid by the Tax-payer, via UC at £1,300 !!!
    Not a lot of people know this
    Check out - follow Joe Speye who posts on this regularly.


    Oh yes I know this goes on which is how the '' not for profits'' housing associations pay their CEOs £3-400k per year, they think we are all fools don't they.

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    How can the private sector be more expensive when housing unemployed tenants social housing receives three times as much as I get paid on universal credit?
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    A lot of guff from duffers who are more concerned with attendance allowances than meaningless pronouncements. Basic o level economics demand and supply. That’s my report in 2 minutes.


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