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Ten things you should know about rented homes

Stephen Battersby03/09/2014 - 13:00

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The private rented sector is growing with more families and young people forced into rented housing by soaring house prices. Stephen Battersby, CIEH vice president and chair of Generation Rent, says the latest English Housing Survey shows rents are going up and conditions are worse than other types of housing.



1) In 2012-13 the private rented sector (PRS) overtook the social rented sector to be the second largest tenure in England. Now 4.1 million households, or 18%, are in the PRS (an increase of almost 900,000 since 2008-09 and double the number in 1996).


2) On average owner-occupiers buying with a mortgage spent 20% of their income on housing costs, by comparison private renters spent 40% and are generally on lower incomes.


3) Under-occupation is greatest in the owner-occupied sector (49%) with only 15% of private renters and 10% of social renters under-occupying.


4) Average floor areas for households has decreased over time, with newer homes generally having lower average floor areas; 44% of new build homes had a useable floor space under 69m2 compared with 39% of older dwellings.


5) There were 1.0 million vacant dwelling in England, 494,000 of these were “owner-occupied” and 390,000 vacant were in the “PRS”.


6) The number of homes not meeting the Decent Home standard in 2012 has reduced but the PRS had the highest rate of non-decency at 33% (20% for owner-occupiers).


7) Non-decency, substantial disrepair, Category 1 hazards under the HHSRS or serious damp and mould affected 42% of the PRS so over 1.7 million homes in the PRS had at least one of these indicators of poor condition.


8) In 2012, 4% of households lived in properties with some form of damp however in the PRS the proportion affected by some form of damp was 9.3%. For all vulnerable groups including those with very young children the likelihood of living in a damp home “was notably greater within private rented accommodation”.


9) 3.1 million dwellings (14% of the total) had at least one Category 1 hazard (it is 19% for the PRS); around half a million (2% of total dwellings) having two or more such hazards.


10) The most common Category 1 hazards are all falling hazards affecting 1.8 million dwellings. There are around 1.0 million homes with a Category 1 hazard for Excess Cold, 98,000 dwellings had a Category 1 hazard for fire and 29% of these were in the PRS.


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