South Asian private renters in Southall struggle to find good quality homes

Research conducted with South Asian residents in the West London constituency of Ealing Southall has found that local private renters face significant issues when finding safe and affordable homes in the area.

Generation Rent worked with the MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma, and his office to better understand the experiences of the South Asian community of Southall. The findings, from a survey conducted with 120 private renters, around three quarters of whom stated their religion as Sikh and a quarter as Hindu.

The survey of local private renters shines a light onto the experiences of tenants in the constituency:


Affording the rent locally was a big issue for Southall renters, especially in the midst of rising rents and energy prices.

  • More than 4 in 5 (80.7%) respondents stated that they had struggled to find an affordable home to rent in their local area, with over 3 in 5 of all respondents indicating that they had “often” struggled to do so.
  • Over half (57.5%) of the respondents stated that their rent had increased in the previous 6 months before completing the survey, with the median increase amongst those whose rent had gone up being £200 per month per household.
  • Almost a third (31.8%) of respondents stated that their landlord had threatened them with an unaffordable rent increase.
  • The vast majority (70.3%) stated that they had found it more difficult to afford the rent in the last few months prior to completing the survey, with over a third (37.3%) of respondents stating that they had found it “a lot” more difficult.
  • Around half (49.2%) of respondents stated that their energy bills had increased in the previous 6 months before complaint the survey, with the median increase amongst these respondents being £110 per household.


  • Just under 1 in 6 (15.6%) private renters were living in households with more than 2 people per bedroom, putting them in danger of living in overcrowded conditions.

Documents and information

It was extremely commonplace for tenants not to receive documents and information from their landlords that they are entitled to.

  • Over a third (37.3 %) of respondents stated that they had not received ANY of the six important documents they are entitled to from their landlord.
  • Over 3 in 5 (61.9%) reported that they had not even been given a written tenancy agreement by their landlord or letting agent.
  • Almost 1 in 5 (18.6% ) did not know where they would go for information and support if facing a private renting issue.

Stability and landlord and letting agent treatment

Some respondents reported issues with poor treatment from their landlords and letting agents.

  • Over 1 in 7 (14.5%) respondents stated that their landlord or letting agent had entered their home without permission.
  • Over 1 in 8 (13.3%) reported concern about being evicted from their home.
  • Almost 1 in 10 (8.4%) reported that their landlord had threatened them with an eviction and the same proportion again reported that they had threatened them with the refusal to do repairs.

What does this mean?

A great many obstacles lie in the way of Southall’s private renters accessing good quality homes. The lack of availability of properties means that many local private renters are being forced to endure high rents they have no choice but to pay.

The high risk of overcrowding amongst many of the participants, as well as issues in getting landlords to carry out repairs and their illegal entering of the property, demonstrate a clear need for improved regulation of private renting.

This is why the Renters (Reform) Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, must work to address the significant power imbalance currently in place which skews the market significantly in the favour of landlords over tenants. Although Ealing Southall is but one constituency, countless regions and localities around the country have similarly uncompetitive rental markets, and renters in these areas must be accommodated for in these reforms.

We are working to ensure the Renters (Reform) Bill benefits all private renters, including minority ethnic renters who face the sharpest end of the housing crisis.

Sign up here to support our work.

Read the full report here.


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