Nearly one in five households in England live in the private rented sector, making it the second largest tenure.
Just over 4.4 million households live in the private rented sector in England, 19 per cent of all households. By comparison, 17 per cent (4 million) live in the social rented sector and 65 per cent (15.4 million) are owner-occupiers.
The number and proportion of private rented households has declined slightly from 20 per cent and 4.7 million households in 2016/17.
Renters are more likely to live in overcrowded accommodation than owner-occupiers, and ethnic minority households in the private rented sector are more likely to be overcrowded than white households.
7 per cent of private rented and 9 per cent of social rented households are overcrowded, compared with 1 per cent of owner occupied households. Overcrowding in the private rented sector increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic. In November to December 2020, 15 per cent of households in the private rented sector were overcrowded.
In 2019/20, 13 per cent of privately rented households with an ethnic minority head were overcrowded, compared with 7 per cent of white privately rented households.
Private renters spend a higher proportion of their household income on rent than social renters. This proportion is highest for those who live in London.
On average, private renters spent 32 per cent of their household income, including Housing Benefit, on rent. The average for social renters was 27 per cent.
Private renters in London spend an average of 42 per cent of their household income on rent. The same figure for social renters in London is 30 per cent.
Private renting households with one adult were more likely to be in arrears than households with two or more adults.
At 13 per cent, lone parents were around twice as likely as couples with dependent children (at 6 per cent) to have been in arrears at some point over the past year.
At 8 per cent, one person households were nearly three times as likely than couples without children (at 3 per cent) to have been in arrears at some point over the past year.
Despite the fact they have lower relative incomes, private rented households with HRPs from the oldest and youngest age groups are less likely to report having difficulty with rent payments.
Nearly a half of privately renting households aged 16 to 24 (49 per cent) and more than four fifths (82 per cent) of those 75 and older are in the lowest two income quintiles. The figure for those aged 35 to 44 is 37 per cent.
About 16 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 and 14 per cent of those aged 75 and over report difficulty with rent. This compares with more than a third of those aged 35-44 (31 per cent) and those aged 45 to 64 (32 per cent).
The majority of households who had moved from privately rented accommodation had ended their last tenancy because they wanted to. Social renters whose last tenancy was in the private rented sector were more likely than those who moved within the private rented sector to have been asked to leave their last tenancy by their landlord or agent.
Three quarters of private renters (76 per cent) said that their last tenancy ended because they wanted to move. 8 per cent of current private renters report being asked to leave their last tenancy by a landlord or agent.
About two thirds (69 per cent) of social renters who were last private renters moved because they wanted to. About one fifth (22 per cent) of current social renters say they were asked to leave their privately rented tenancy by a landlord or agent.
Younger private renters are more likely than older private renters to expect to own a home in the future.
More than three quarters of private renters aged 16 to 24 (78 per cent) and those aged 25 to 34 (77 per cent) say they expect to buy a home in the future.
The expectation to buy tapers off in older age cohorts – just under two thirds of those aged 35 to 44 (65 per cent), two fifths of those aged 45 to 64 (41 per cent) and just over a tenth of those aged 65 to 74 (12 per cent) eventually expect to buy.
Private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit are more likely to live in a non- decent home than those not in receipt of Housing Benefit. The converse is true for social renters.
29 per cent of private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit live in a non-decent home, compared to 21 per cent of private renters not receiving Housing Benefit.
For social renters, 11 per cent of households receiving benefit live in non-decent accommodation, compared to 14 per cent of social renters not in receipt of benefit.
The average cost to bring a privately rented dwelling to EPC C is more than for a social rented dwelling, but less than the average for owner occupied homes.
The average cost to bring a privately rented dwelling up to EPC C is £7,646. This is compared to £5,979 for a social rented dwelling, or £8,579 for owner-occupiers.
The total estimated costs to bring all privately rented dwellings in England that are currently EPC D or lower up to EPC C is £21.5 billion.
By Patrick Mooney, Editor