According to statistics from the English Housing Survey, tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) are more satisfied with their home than their counterparts in social housing.
83% of people in the PRS stated that they are happy with their accommodation, compared to 81% of social tenants.
It was also revealed that during the period 2012-13, the PRS overtook social housing to become the second largest form of housing in the country. 18% (four million) of households are now in the PRS, while 65% (14.3 million) are owner occupied and 17% (3.7 million) are social.
However, the PRS had the largest proportion of homes that were classed as “non-decent” with 33% of properties in the sector falling into this category. The figure is 15% and 20% for social and owner-occupied housing respectively.
In terms of rents, the survey found the cost of living in the private sector increased by 6.5% between 2008 and 2013, which represents a fall in real terms. Social housing rents grew by 25.3% in the same period.
While they are rising at a slower pace, private rents remain more expensive than social, with the survey saying this is due to the PRS containing a much larger and more varied stock of properties, where as social accommodation tends to be cheaper purpose-built flats.
These findings were welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The RLA’s chairman, Alan Ward, stated: “Today’s findings demonstrate significant progress in the sector. Standards are up, rents are falling in real terms and the sector is now the only housing tenure growing.”
However, he also warned there is still more to be done to improve the PRS. “This includes radical reforms to the way the sector is regulated to ensure local authorities properly target and prosecute criminal landlords rather than swamping the vast majority of good landlords with ever more costly red tape.”