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According to a recent official report, the proportion of a private tenant’s income spent on rent has continued to drop in England. Figures obtained by the latest Housing Survey in England, and based on research provided in 2017-18, has shown that private tenants paid approximately 32.9 per cent of their income on rent, on average. This is a decrease from the previous year, which reached 34.3 per cent, and 2014/15, where the proportion was 36.4 per cent.

The study, which is the most complete snapshot of England’s current housing stock and how residents are living, also discovered that the length of time in which a private sector tenant lived at their existing home was, on average, 4.1 years. This is an increase from the statistic of 2016/17, which was 3.9 years.

The new Private Landlord Survey, conducted by the government for 2018, was published earlier this month, and discovered that 70 per cent of landlords decided to keep their rents at the same level when they most recently renewed a tenancy. This shows that landlords prioritise retaining good tenants for the long term.

However, overcrowding within the private rented sector is increasing, with over 250,000 tenants estimated to be living within overcrowded housing. The English Housing Survey revealed that this is the second highest figure ever recorded for overcrowding since 1996.

The official statistics show that overcrowding is becoming a growing issue in general, due to the shortage of homes. The data has also shown that social housing has risen to its highest level since the government’s records began, more than two decades ago. It is estimated that over 300,000 households within England contain tenants who are crammed into small spaces and too few rooms

The rates of overcrowding are now around eight times higher within social housing, and six times higher within the private rented sector, compared to owner-occupiers. The report also revealed that 14 per cent of privately rented homes contain category one hazards, the most serious category. This is compared with 6 per cent of properties rented from housing associations or councils. However, the standards of housing are improving overall. 31 per cent of homes in the private rented sector failed to satisfy the government’s standards of decent homes in 2008.

Policy manager at the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), John Stewart, stated that recent data has highlighted that there is a trend of improving standards, security and affordability for private tenants.

The statistics also debunk the stereotype that landlords are constantly increasing rents irrationally, and searching for any opportunity to evict tenants.

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