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The most recent English Housing Survey conducted by the Government has shown that one in five residents in England now rent through the private rental sector (PRS). This figure has risen significantly since the current survey was introduced in 1996. The report has also shown that the vast majority of tenants within the private rented sector are content living in their current property.

84 per cent of participants claimed they were happy in their privately rented home. This compares to 81 per cent of tenants in the social rented sector that are satisfied with their accommodation. The PRS has also excelled in other areas, such as tenant satisfaction concerning property repairs and maintenance from landlords. 72 per cent of the private tenants questioned were happy with how their landlord conducts repairs and carries out maintenance. This compares to 66 per cent of tenant satisfaction with repairs and maintenance within the social rented sector.

There has also been a decline in the amount of privately rented properties becoming over-occupied, which now stands at 5 per cent. However, privately rented properties are still the most probable tenure category to miss Statutory Minimum Housing Standards. According to statistics, 15 per cent of PRS properties have one or more Category 1 hazards within the home, which pose a major threat to the safety of the people in the property. These include hazards such as overloaded electrical sockets or exposed wiring. Encouragingly, this number has halved in the past decade.

The survey also indicated that 60 per cent of PRS tenants intend to eventually buy the property they are renting. The majority of those questioned were in the 16-24 year old age bracket, at 81 per cent of participants. Between 2016 and 2017, 68 per cent of the 266,000 moves out of privately rented homes were to owner-occupied properties. The size of the private rented sector has doubled since 1996, with the English Housing Survey finding that 4.7 million households currently live in PRS homes.

The average time that people stay at their privately rented house is 3.9 years. Those aged 75 years and over stay an average of 17 years at their privately rented home, compared to the 16 – 24 age bracket, where tenants stay in their property for under a year, on average. Largely, the number of tenants in the private sector across each age group is rising, with 46 per cent of 25-34 year old residents now living in privately rented homes. This age group of tenants has risen by 19 per cent in the last decade. With ongoing calls for extended tenancies, the Government has now launched a consultation concerning three-year tenancies within the private rented sector, which is due to close on 26th August.

The aim of the consultation is to seek views on the way that longer tenancy models could be put into action. The Government is also analysing whether to authorise the prospective long term model as the primary option for PRS tenants, with opportunities for shorter term lets at the tenant’s request. Alternatively, the Government is also looking at financial incentives to encourage landlords to rent out properties for longer tenancies.

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