A lifetime of renting for more of us?

Feb 18, 2016 12:20 PM

A flurry of news reports in the past week have told many of us what we're already thinking: more private renters are facing a lifetime of renting. 

First, the Resolution Foundation said that, in ten years' time, 90% of under-35s on modest incomes will be renting for life. 

Then, PwC said 40% of Londoners will be renting from a private landlord by 2025. 

And today, the government-commissioned English Housing Survey found that 57% of private renters expect to buy their home - down from 61% in the previous year's report.

And that's not all.

In London, the survey found a 6% increase in rents, from an average of £281 per week to £298 per week.

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of households in the private rented sector with dependent children has increased from 30% in 2004-05 to 37% in 2014-15. That number has risen from 689,000 ten years ago to 1.6 million today.

Oddly, the survey also found that the private rented sector has shrunk, from 4.4m households to 4.3m. And London accounts for all 100,000 households, who apparently just left the city, because they don't show up in the home owner figures. The survey is based on a sample of around 1500 households in London and 11,500 outside London, so we have to take the findings with a pinch of salt.

But given the range of evidence, we can say that despite the government’s rhetoric on helping first-time buyers, renters are becoming more resigned to a lifetime of paying off someone else’s mortgage.

Private tenants have minimal protection from arbitrary eviction and, as we can see in London, there’s no protection from increasing costs.

Now that more than a third of private renters have dependent children, the government must use the Housing Bill to make private renting a family-friendly tenure. Please ask the Lords to amend the Bill.