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With five million UK households already living in rented accommodation and with the sector continuing to expand, now could be a good time to take a look at the types of accommodation on the market. Are they fitting the needs of tenants? According to the annual report into the English housing market, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, it seems there is room for improvement.

The survey shows that more than half of private tenants are aged 35 or more, while more than one-third of households consist of families with children. So, while the millennials and Generation Rent are commanding a lot of attention, there are two other groups which also need to be considered. The types of properties on offer and their location need to meet these tenants’ needs too. The rental sector is advised to heed the changing face of renters, to provide amenities they require. For families, obviously, they will be looking for houses, preferably with a garden, in a good school catchment area. The 30-somethings may want en-suite rooms, but with shared facilities such as a living room or kitchen, so they have somewhere to bring friends or chat with their fellow tenants.

The survey highlighted some areas of concern, such as length of tenancy, particularly for those who rent from non-professional landlords or ‘accidental landlords’. Out of the 11% of tenants who had been evicted from a property, nearly two-thirds of them said it was because their landlord either wanted to move in to the property or to sell up. Professional landlords are able to offer more security to tenants and would be looking to retain long-term renters because they offer stable returns and a steady income without any void periods.

Alarmingly, the survey found 27% of rental properties did not meet the Decent Homes Standard and nearly one in five didn’t even have fire safety equipment. Again, this is another argument for renting from professional landlords and letting agents who will make sure the house is habitable and meets the required standards.

The report and the comments from tenants show there is still room for improvement in the buy-to-rent sector. The new build-to-rent developments should meet some of the requirements, with properties being built to high standards which meet the needs of all types of tenants. The report is also a good argument for professional landlords who understand the sector and what is required of them.

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