A survey of tenants who rent homes has revealed the depth of the crisis facing the private rented sector (PRS), with more than three quarters of respondents effectively trapped in their current home due to the major shortage of alternative rental properties.
The survey was carried out by estate agent HOP, which manages a vast rentals portfolio worth more than £245 million across Leeds and beyond and it asked more than 600 tenants about their current circumstances and property aspirations.
More than 70% of respondents said that they ideally want to own their own home, but for three quarters of these not having a sufficient deposit is holding them back. However, 64% are currently saving for a deposit and 43% hope to buy in the next five years.
Most expect to buy in their 30s, with 41% saying they will be aged between 32 and 39 when they take their first step onto the property ladder, followed by 27% who believe they will be in their 40s.
However, 71% said they will stay in their current home for the foreseeable future and 12% have already lived there longer than they planned to. This is mainly because there aren’t enough alternative rental properties available, moving home could mean changing jobs and rising rents make moving a financial risk.
The survey also showed that for tenants choosing rental homes, location and price are much more important than the size or the interior of the property.
Luke Gidney, managing director from HOP, comments: “Although it’s no secret that the majority of tenants currently renting properties would like to buy their own homes, our survey also revealed that a quarter are happy renting and have no desire to buy. Most said it was the fact they could move quickly if their circumstances changed, as well as not having to worry about repairs and maintenance, that made renting preferable to buying.
“However, many tenants are facing difficult choices and are resigned to the fact that moving to a new rental property can be a challenge due to the shortage of available homes in the PRS, which has driven rents up by approximately 10% in West Yorkshire in the past 12 months alone.
“Government figures show England’s PRS accounts for 4.6 million or 19% of households and that it has doubled in size since the early 2000s. This compares to 15.6 million, or 64% and 4 million, or 17%, for owner occupation and social housing respectively.
“At the moment though, huge numbers of landlords are selling investment properties, due to legislation, red tape and tax changes. We’re now in a position where demand for rental property is higher than it’s ever been and tenants are bearing the brunt of this, competing for available properties and having to pay record rents. It’s a horrible situation that’s only going to get worse unless action is taken to stem the landlord exodus.”