Happy tenants in the private rented sector

From Robert Ulph on March 22, 2022

Some parts of the media seem very keen on positioning landlords and tenants as being against each other, so it was refreshing to see a recent report from an independent body, the Social Market Foundation, stating that 81% of private tenants are happy with their current rental home and 85% are satisfied with their landlords.

The private rented sector is a vital part of the country’s housing, now with nearly 13 million renters in the UK, it represents 20% of all households but read some articles and you’d be left thinking that renting is a bad experience. There are of course stories of rogue landlords – just as there are examples of bad tenants, but it is good to hear further evidence that these cases are by far the minority and most times renting can be a good experience all round.

The report states that private renters particularly value not having to pay for repairs, maintenance or insurance and other costs, with over two-thirds saying this a major benefit of renting. Flexibility is also important and I have written before about how renting is now much more of a lifestyle choice and this affects the way potential tenants make decisions about their rental property.

The cost of renting used to dictate tenants’ decisions, but we are seeing more now that tenants want better quality homes and perhaps with more space than before as a result of the pandemic and are much more particular about location. The MSF report backed this up with findings that some tenants see renting as a way to afford more expensive locations.

For landlords these tenants are often very desirable as not only are they willing to pay more for better quality properties, but they are also looking for somewhere to make their home so are more likely to want to stay longer.  

The study found the greatest dissatisfaction was not from being a tenant or with their landlord, but that the individuals did not want to rent in the first place. 34% expressed dissatisfaction at being a renter as their preference would be to own their own home. Only half of renters expect to leave the private rented sector in the next 15 years, suggesting that significant numbers will remain renters for long periods. Among them, the SMF finds that just 13% would be satisfied with long-term renting.

One of the report authors, economist Aveek Bhattacharya concluded: “Dominant cultural narratives about the private rented sector paint a misleading picture. In contrast to the horror stories that get wide circulation, the majority of renters are satisfied with their living conditions and have decent relationships with their landlords. 

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is developing policies that can persuade renters that they are not missing out financial security and stability if they don’t own their home.”

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any advice on our local property market.