With home ownership unaffordable and council housing unavailable, private renters are living longer in a tenure that wasn't designed to provide long term homes. The constant threat of your landlord deciding to sell up or move back in means that you have none of the stability that a home is supposed to provide.
New polling from Survation, commissioned by us, exposes the impact this has on tenants' lives. It shows that private renters are more anxious about the security of their home and this is holding them back from investing time in their home and their local community.
The survey finds that:
- One in three (35%) private renters is worried they will have to move home in the next year, compared with 16% of home owners.
- Private renters are less likely to feel like their home looks the way they want it to (43%) than home owners (66%) or council tenants (50%).
- Private renters are less likely to know lots of people in their local area (42%) than home owners and council tenants (both 53%).
- Private renters are more likely to be stressed or anxious (53%) than other tenures, including home owners at 35%.
- Only a quarter of private renters (25%) feel that the economy works well for people like them, with a third who do not (34%). The population as a whole is evenly split, with 30% agreeing with the statement and 29% who disagree. Home owners are much more likely to agree that the economy is treating them well (37%), though a quarter (24%) disagrees.
In England, 19% of households now live in private rented housing, rising to 25% among families with children. Outside of a fixed-term tenancy, a private landlord can evict the tenant with two months’ notice and without needing a reason.
The government has acknowledged the problems the lack of security creates. At the Conservative Party Conference, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said that new incentives would be announced at the Autumn Budget for landlords who give tenants more security.
However, the only extra security Javid outlined was tenancies of at least 12 months (which the majority of landlords already offer), and an extra month’s notice if the landlord wants to take back the property.
Generation Rent is calling on the government to provide meaningful security for tenants who meet the terms of their tenancy:
- Landlords should give a valid reason for taking back a property – this would help prevent revenge evictions which are used to intimidate tenants, and is already being introduced in Scotland.
- Landlords should pay the tenant’s moving costs if they are forced to move without being at fault – this would encourage landlords who wanted to sell up to sell to another landlord with the tenants still living in the property.
- Landlords should not raise rent by more than wages are rising – this would help tenants plan their finances and stop landlords from forcing tenants out by raising the rent.
Further details can be found in our policy paper.
By restricting the ability of landlords to evict tenants who have done nothing wrong, we can bring private renters’ quality of life into line with other tenures. That extra certainty will give more tenants the confidence to decorate their home and get involved with their local community - in short, lead normal lives.