December 19

Rentals Hit by High Costs and Low Quality


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Many households grapple with the strain of escalating costs, with renters, in particular, facing the brunt of challenges in securing decent housing, as suggested by the Resolution Foundation. The foundation’s claims find support in the initial findings from the English Housing Survey 2021-23, shedding light on the persisting issue of substandard housing standards prevalent in the private rental sector.

The ongoing struggle with rising living expenses exacerbates the predicament for numerous households, further intensifying the challenges faced by renters. The initial insights from the English Housing Survey 2021-23 underscore a troubling pattern, emphasizing the enduring nature of inadequate housing standards within the private rental sector, pointing to the need for comprehensive measures to address these persistent issues.

Private renters are allegedly facing a higher likelihood of encountering issues such as dampness and overcrowding compared to those who own their homes. The foundation suggests that efforts to curb the prevalence of damp in privately rented residences, which showed progress between 1996 and 2011, have hit a roadblock. The proportion of private rented dwellings with damp reportedly increased from seven per cent in 2019 to nine per cent in 2022.

Moreover, the foundation’s findings underscore a concerning trend in the housing sector, with the persistence of damp and overcrowding issues in the private rental sector. This stagnation in addressing such problems signals a need for more proactive measures to improve living conditions for renters. Addressing these challenges requires collaborative efforts from policymakers, landlords, and tenants to ensure that rental properties meet acceptable standards of habitability.

While achieving homeownership remains a formidable challenge for first-time buyers, the foundation notes that it is relatively more attainable for those with a well-off support network. This disparity in housing conditions further emphasizes the importance of implementing policies that promote equal access to quality housing, irrespective of one’s financial background. The ongoing housing challenges faced by private renters highlight the need for targeted interventions to address the specific obstacles that hinder them from enjoying the same living standards as homeowners.

In the realm of first-time home purchases, the predominant source of funding remains personal savings. Nevertheless, there has been a discernible shift in recent trends, with an increasing number of individuals – now standing at 36 per cent, up from 27 per cent in 2021-22 – acknowledging the crucial role of support from family or friends in navigating the complex landscape of home ownership.

Cara Pacitti, a seasoned economist at the Resolution Foundation, delves into the profound implications of the ongoing cost of living crisis on households. The surge in interest rates has instigated a substantial rise in the proportion of mortgagors grappling with the affordability of their mortgages, presenting a marked contrast to the financial landscape of the previous year. This heightened financial strain is not exclusive to mortgagors; the report sheds light on a significant segment of private renters, with three in 10 reported to be contending with escalating housing costs.

These findings underscore the multifaceted challenges stemming from economic uncertainties, underscoring the imperative for comprehensive and nuanced strategies to alleviate the mounting financial pressures experienced by both prospective homeowners and private renters alike. As economic dynamics continue to evolve, a holistic approach becomes increasingly vital to fostering sustainable and inclusive housing solutions.

“With plans to introduce a Decent Homes Standard for the private rental sector still to materialise, private renters also remain much more likely to be living in sub-standard, overcrowded homes than owner occupiers.

“The prospects for accessing home ownership for first-time buyers remain challenging. The EHS shows that while savings are still the main way buyers get onto the housing ladder, they are increasingly likely to rely on support from friends and family. This reflects a concerning longer-term trend for young people where the key to first-time home ownership – and the opportunities that stem from it – is increasingly who your parents are, rather than what you’ve earned or saved.”


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Quality UK, Rentals Hit by High Costs and Low Quality, Resolution Foundation

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