How do most tenants feel about renting?

Media attention often focuses on the minority of private renters who have bad experiences but this can give a misleading picture. A recent report conducted by a major think tank, the Social Market Foundation, has found that the vast majority of renters surveyed are happy with their property (81%) and most are happy with their landlord (85%) but further reform of the private rental sector would improve their experience…

SMF recommendations to the Government include:

Giving renters more control over their homes – making it easier to keep pets or make reasonable alterations, such as to décor or energy efficiency.
Increasing the stability of tenancy agreements – A large majority of renters support a fixed minimum contract length: 69% would be in favour of setting this at 24 months.
Enable renters to build wealth while remaining renters – Several innovative schemes could be implemented, including ‘deposit builder ISAs’ that offer a financial return on deposits, or ‘rentership’ models that offer tenants stakes in their building.
Increase the accountability of landlords – Through a ‘Good Home, Good Landlord’ kitemark scheme to recognise landlords that offer good, and not just decent, accommodation.
Improve the standards of rented properties – Offer tax incentives for landlords to invest in improvements that align with Good Home Good Landlord kitemark standards, including green investments.
The SMF survey involved over 1,300 UK adults who currently live in rented accommodation.

Paragon Bank’s managing director Richard Rowntree has been quoted as saying: “The outdated and tired cliches around privately renting need to be challenged and I welcome the findings from SMF’s report. “In our experience, the vast majority of landlords seek to provide a good quality home and enjoy a healthy relationship with their tenants; the significant investment in private rented property by landlords has helped drive up standards over the past 15 years and today homes in the sector are generally newer, larger and more energy efficient than ever before.”

A spokesperson from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) in response to the report’s findings said: “The Social Market Foundation’s research chimes with the English Housing Survey showing that 83% of private sector tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, a higher percentage than those in the social rented sector. While there are clearly challenges, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that a large majority of tenants have a good experience of private renting”

“When it comes to tenant finances, the number one problem remains a chronic shortage of homes for private rent driving rents upward. Without action by government to stimulate growth, anything else would amount to tinkering at the edges.”