Housing is a top three issue for renters as over half say they are struggling

Key statistics on private renters in England:

  • There are 4.5 million households renting privately in England, over a third of them are families with children.
  • 53% of private renters say they are either struggling to pay or falling behind on their rent. On average private renters spend 41% of their gross income on rent, far higher than most homeowners spend on their mortgages.
  • Private renters are highly motivated by housing, it is a top three issue for them – whereas the general public as a whole ranked housing as seventh on their list of key issues.
  • During the last election, 40% of private renters took what was said about renting/ housing into account when deciding who to vote for.
  • The proportion of registered private renters who turned out to vote increased from 51% in 2015 general election to 65% in the 2017 snap election – a jump greater than any other tenure.
  • Private renters had one of the biggest vote swings in 2017 towards Labour – up from a lead of 11 points to a lead of 23 points, which was felt in key English marginals. This made private renters a more influential voting group than in previous elections.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said:

“Given the scale of problems experienced by private renters it’s hardly surprising that more are voting because of a deep dissatisfaction with housing. The hardships they face will only get worse unless politicians act to make renting more stable and more affordable.

“With little hope of benefiting from schemes like Help to Buy, struggling renters have been side-lined for too long. It’s not right that thousands of renters are dipping into hard-earned savings or getting into debt because huge chunks of their salary is being snatched away by eye-watering rents.

“Instead of leaving millions of private renters to hopelessly scrape by each month, we are calling on the government to end the freeze on housing benefit and commit to building decent homes at genuinely affordable rents.”