The reality of renting for most tenants

 

A recent survey into attitudes of tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) with some surprising results.

Writing in his report Mark Long says:

“We’ve all read the private rental horror stories about rogue practices by landlords that bring the wider sector into disrepute. BDRC’s Tenant’s Panel interviewed more than 700 tenants from across the UK in all forms of accommodation. The results of this study have generated some interesting insights which help to counterpoint some of the more alarming stories we see from time to time.”

Against a backdrop of increasing rents (a quarter of tenants have experienced a recent rise), and media stories from campaigning groups arguing for changes to tenancy laws:

  • The majority of private tenants in the UK are satisfied with their current landlord with only 5% refused a longer term tenancy.
  • Six in ten tenants believed that the rent they pay each month offered good or very good value for money; one in five, however, felt that wasn’t the case.
  • To the current debate around the need for extended tenancy agreements, more than one in three renters had already been in their current property for more than four years and 70% were happy with the length of their current tenancy agreement.
  • Only 7% expressed any dissatisfaction with the duration, and fewer still had ever had a request for a tenancy extension refused by their landlord.
  • The majority (63%) of tenants had met their landlord at least once, and seven in ten reported that they were satisfied with the nature of the relationship that they have. However a tenth of renters surveyed felt that they had, at some point in the past, rented from what they would deem to be a ‘rogue’ landlord.
  • Three-fifths reported in the survey that they would endorse the idea of a register of landlords where a current or potential landlord could be identified and verified.

In summary, three quarters considered their rental property to be their home, and most felt secure and in control of their accommodation. Only 5% felt that renting was in any way a barrier to family life.

Mark Long says:

“Although no one would want to trivialise the impact of terrible treatment by landlords on their tenants, it is important that a proper perspective is maintained when thinking about the scope and scale of these issues.”

A more recent follow-up survey commissioned by Paragon Mortgages found that:

  • Overall 65% of tenants believe their rental payment represents ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value for money and have positive attitudes towards renting, according to the study
  • The quarter two tenant market analysis, carried out by BDRC Continental, reported a rise in tenant satisfaction with 80% satisfied with their current landlord and 87% of tenants now regarding their rented property as their home rather than a short term arrangement.
  • The research also highlighted that the average duration of tenants living in their current rented property in the second quarter of 2015 was seven years, with the typical total stay in the private rented sector being 12 years.
  • When asked about their long term housing plans some 35% of participating tenants intend to remain within the sector and 24% intended to buy a house in the future, with the proportion of respondents citing the unaffordability of housing as the reason for renting privately increasing from 69% to 74%.

John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages says:

“This research provides a valuable insight into the sector. There are many surveys of landlords and many academic reports on the PRS. There are, however, too few surveys that poll tenants directly on their experience of renting privately,

“This survey has identified high levels of tenant satisfaction and an appreciation of the good value that rented accommodation can offer across the country. It is more disappointing though to see that affordability constraints are impacting negatively on future choices in housing with less than a quarter of tenants expecting to buy their own home in due course.”

See – The Rent Check

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