The number of private tenants renting homes has overtaken the number of tenants renting social housing for the first time ever, according to the latest English Housing Survey.
Out of 22 million households, 65% or 14.3 million own a home, while 4 million (18%) are private tenants and the rest – 17% or 3.7 million are social tenants.
“Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the proportion of private sector households stayed steady at around 10%. However, the sector has undergone sharp growth since then and has nearly doubled in size,” says the report.
“This was driven by a number of factors; in the late 1990s rent controls were removed, and assured shorthold tenancies became the standard, giving greater flexibility in the length of tenancies. Lenders also introduced the buy-to-let mortgage at around the same time.”
The report published by the Office of National Statistics also reveals some other key details about housing in England:
- 3% of households in England were reported as overcrowded in 2012-13. As in previous years, more rented homes were overcrowded than owner occupied homes – just 1% of owner occupied households but 6% each of social and private rented households were overcrowded.
- Around half (49%) of owners under-occupied their homes in 2012-13, compared with 15% of private renters and 10% of social renters.
- In 2012-13, two thirds (66%) of social renters and a quarter (25%) of private renters were paid housing benefit, up from 59% for social tenants and 19% for private tenants in 2008-09.
- In 2012-13, a third (32%) of working households renting social housing were paid housing benefit, up from 24% in 2010-11 and 20% in 2009-10. In the private rented sector, 12% of working households received housing benefit in 2012-13, unchanged from recent years but an increase of 9% in 2009-10.
- In 2012-13, 61% of private renters and 23% of social renters said they expected to buy a home.
- In 2012, 4.9 million homes (22%) failed the decent homes standard, a fall of 2.8 million homes since 2006, when 35% of homes failed to meet the standard. As in previous years, the private rented sector had the highest number of non-decent homes (33%), while the social rented sector had the lowest (15%), while 20% of owner occupied homes failed to meet the standard in 2012.