Despite all the bad press that renting often seems to attract, most people are happy with their rented home and have no complaints about their landlord. This is the good news for the rented sector from the latest English Housing Survey Private rented sector report, published yesterday.
Private rentals are the second biggest housing sector in England. The government estimates the PRS at 4.5 million households compared to 14.8 million owner occupiers, with about one in five households in England renting their home.
According to the survey, the vast majority (84%) of private renters say they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their current accommodation, though satisfaction levels are higher among owner-occupiers (95%). Private renters are also less happy with their tenure, at 69%, compared with 98% of owner-occupiers. In a country where owning your own home is a key aspiration for most people, this is not unexpected.
Compared with social renters and owner-occupiers, private renters spend the most money on housing. On average, they spend a third of their household income on rent. And there are no surprises in the fact that Londoners spent more on rent than people living outside the Capital. What is more unexpected is that despite the often high cost of renting in comparison to paying a mortgage – and the number of renters who receive Housing Benefit – the majority of people polled said they found it ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to pay their rent.
And despite the difficulties of getting onto the house-buying ladder, more than half of private renters thought they would eventually buy a home – even though a sizeable proportion freely admit they have no savings. Younger renters were more likely to think they would eventually become home owners. But without any clear idea of how this might happen, this sounds more like the optimism of youth, rather than a sign of increasing affordability in the housing market!