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Private renting vital to economic and social fabric of UK - report

The private rented sector has an important economic and social role to play across the country, according to a new report published today.

The report, commissioned by the National Residential Landlords Association, is based on a survey of 2,000 private renters in England and Wales by the polling agency Opinium. 

The results suggest it is wrong to conclude that private renters are trapped in the sector. It finds that fewer than just six per cent of private renters want to switch to social rented housing. 


In addition, whilst 76 per cent said they want to buy a home of their own at some point in the future, just 17 per cent would have done so already if they could.

Prepared by Chris Walker, a director at ChamberlainWalker Economics, the report concludes that the sector “has attributes that make it the tenure of choice for many private renters, and that a high-quality and well-provided PRS is likely to be a good thing both socially and economically.”

The survey found that 41 per cent of private renters rated the affordability of their rents as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ with a further 38 per cent rating it as ‘fair’.

With the government committed to supporting ‘Generation Rent’ to become ‘Generation Buy’, the report finds that for many private renters, job security is the biggest factor in determining when they choose to buy a home.  

According to the survey over one in three of renters were more likely to buy their first home if they had a stable, secure job. This figure rose to a half among renters aged 18 to 34.

With a growing number of older people now reliant on the private rented sector, almost half (48 per cent) of renters aged 55 and older said they wanted to stay in the sector. Noting that around three million people aged 65 and over want to downsize, the report argues that the PRS can play an important role in enabling this to happen by freeing up under-occupied properties for aspiring homeowners.

According to government data, more than half (53 per cent) of owner-occupied properties are under-occupied compared with just 15 per cent in the private rented sector.

Writing in the report, Chris Walker concludes: “For many, the PRS acts as an entry point to the housing market, helping younger people gain their footing and independence when they leave the parental home without the bigger jump and commitment of homeownership. Similarly, the PRS is a mainstay housing option for many younger people whilst at university and for many as they move away from where they grew up to enter the world of work for the first time.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “Today’s report makes clear the positive and vital role the rental market has to play in the economic and social life of the country. Contrary to the rhetoric from many, for the vast majority of tenants their experience in rented housing is positive. This is the platform the Government needs build upon to ensure a sector that works for renters and responsible landlords.”

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  • Alan Bonde

    At last a fair and balanced report on the PRS. I wonder what the execrable Polly Neate will have to say about it?
    No doubt she will claim that 21% of tenants find the affordability of their rents as being ‘unfair’ or that more than half (52 per cent) of renters aged 55 and older don’t want to stay in the sector.

    jeremy clarke

    Alan, the only thing that keeps me sane when I see the Neate woman's name is that their surveys are normally the result of only asking half a dozen disgruntled tenants then multiplying that response by the combined ages of everyone in the shelter office that day and adding in the year and the price of a standard Hovis loaf from Tesco!

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    The only one’s that want to switch from Private Renting to Social are the one’s that wants tax payers to supplement their Rent or have it for free.

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    They don't want to move to social housing because of the people already in social housing, neighbours from hell

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    So instead of rent freezes & eviction bans we need more social housing so those who want to can move sectors & that would then relieve the pressure on the PRS & allow rents to stabilise. Easy!

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    I agree we are an important factor, but if the government onslaught continues we will simply keep reducing until the majority of us leave.

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    A very sensible report stating what most of us have always known to be the truth.

    I'm surprised so few PRS tenants want to become Social tenants. I guess being able to choose exactly where you live with the number of rooms you choose to pay for outweighs half price rent in a location you don't especially want to live in.

    The PRS gives far greater mobility than either Social Housing or home ownership. Clearly that gives young aspirational people an advantage in their career progression.
    Renting in old age makes huge sense. Staying in a much loved house after your children leave home is often fine for many years. When eventually health problems or the death of a partner makes that house impractical moving into the PRS is a far better idea than buying a retirement apartment. The released equity can pay for a very comfortable few years, be gifted as a pre- inheritance, etc. More importantly it makes the next potential move much easier logistically if there is no house to sell.
    Other people find they have to rent in later life because life didn't go the way they planned. The second divorce in their 50s tends to derail things.

    Obviously the government want everyone to be home owners as they don't provide an equivalent to Housing Benefit for homeowners. I'm not sure why the media are so obsessed with homeownership though.

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    • A JR
    • 31 January 2023 09:20 AM

    The exodus of LLs will continue unless and until the Gov reverses it’s hostility toward the PRS.
    Eventually they will wake up to a nation ploughed by homelessness. Their market meddling won’t deliver anywhere near enough housing to avert a crisis, no matter what flavour of Gov. Their time to get things right for the PRS has long passed.
    Biggest threat now is a Gov designed ‘lock in’ of landlords.
    So if you’re going to go, go now.


    100% correct. That's why I've started the selling up process now... It's only gong to get worse.

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    Shelter will counter if the PRS is so vital it should be controlled by Government as Landlords shouldn't be trusted with something so vital and a "human right" according to Labour.


    Well to some extent the PRS is controlled by Govt, with all the rules and regulations and unfair taxation. The property rental "service" was controlled by councils when there were plenty of council houses, but the govt policy was to allow them to be sold off.
    I can't see a way out of the mess they have created other than to make the PRS more attractive to investors, which might increase supply.


    I agree and it's Government interference that is harming the PRS so much.

    Incidentally I don't know why my post is in twice!

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    Shelter will counter if the PRS is so vital it should be controlled by Government as Landlords shouldn't be trusted with something so vital and a "human right" according to Labour.

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    If you get down to the nitty Gritty of the situation . People need somewhere to live, You have to jump through hoops to get a mortgage ,and many will not qualify. The Government has failed to stop mass immigration , and Councils, and Government regards private Landlord as cash cows. And 85% of private renters are happy with their private rented properties supplied by mum and pop landlords .

    It does not take Einstein, or endless committees of so called experts to find a solution. Thatcher solve the problem in the 1980. Encourage the PRS sector.


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