The vast majority of PRS tenants are happy with their homes, according to the English Housing Survey report for 2016/17, published today.
Contrary to the portrayal of landlords in the popular media, 84% of PRS tenants are satisfied with the place where they live. This compares to 81% of those living in social housing.
While this is not perfect – we would all love the figure to be 100% – it shows that the vast majority of landlords are committed to providing safe and comfortable homes for their tenants.
The report also finds that 72 per cent of private sector tenants are satisfied with the way that their landlord carries out repairs or maintenance, compared to 66 per cent who said the same in the social rented sector.
David Smith, RLA Policy Director, said: “Whilst we should never be complacent, these results confound the myths that some have peddled about the private rented sector.
“It shows once again that the vast majority of private sector landlords do a good job and look after their properties and tenants properly.
“The Government should recognise this and ensure policy supports the vast majority of landlords who are individuals to continue providing the good quality homes to rent we need whilst improving enforcement to root out the criminals who have no place in the market.”
Satisfaction rates are, of course, just one element of the report.
In terms of the PRS, it confirmed the sector is growing and that across most age groups the number of private renters has increased in the last 20 years even where the proportion of private renters in that age group has not.
For example, the number of private renters aged 16-24 has increased from 365,000 to 513,000 even though the proportion has decreased (from 18% to 11%).
Where the proportion of private renters has increased, the increase in numbers has been particularly pronounced.
There were more than three times as many 35-44 year olds renting privately in 2016-17 than 20 years ago: an increase from 331,000 households in 1996-97 to 1.1 million in 2016-17.
The Government is currently consulting on longer tenancies following campaigning by the RLA for tax incentives for those who offer the longer terms which are particularly attractive to older tenants.
The RLA believes flexibility is the key to offering stability to families and older renters who are looking for more security, while keeping shorter tenancy options for those who do not want to be tied to a property long-term and need to be able to move, for new work or educational opportunities.