The TDS Charitable Foundation has published results from its latest Voice of the Tenant survey carried out with over 2,000 tenants in September 2023. The data is intended to inform debate and support evidence-based policy making in respect of the private rented sector.
The full results of the survey can be accessed here.
Tenants under financial strain
In the past year, tenants reported an average increase of 17% in the cost of their rent, with a more pronounced increase of 27% in rural areas. Almost one-third of tenants said it was difficult or very difficult to afford the rent each month. Over 40% of both student tenants and tenants who are subject to the Local Housing Allowance freeze are struggling to pay the rent.
Currently 14% of all tenants are in rent arrears, and this figure increases to 42% among
those who find it difficult or very difficult to afford the rent.
Over half (52%) of all tenants said they regularly made cutbacks on household essentials such as food, heating and clothing in order to pay the rent. 40% said they were struggling to afford utility bills.
82% of those who moved into a private rental property in the past six months reported experiencing one or more challenges in securing a suitable property. Of note, 48% struggled to find anywhere affordable.
47% of tenants rent via a letting agent, and 53% rent directly from their landlord.
Over 40% of all tenants said that they worry they could be asked to leave their homes at any time, whilst just 50% feel secure from eviction. However, most tenants (70%) enjoy positive relationships with their landlord or letting agent.
75% rate the condition of their property as “good” or “acceptable”. 87% of tenants had reported a repair issue or maintenance concern in the past six months, of which 78% said it was either fully or partially addressed.
Whilst 38% of tenants have pets in their property, 28% of pet owners said finding a landlord that permits pets was a challenge when searching for their current rental property.
Tenant awareness of the Renters (Reform) Bill
Just 17% of tenants are aware of planned reforms to the private rented sector in the Renters (Reform) Bill, with 83% unaware of it and its proposals.
60% of tenants agreed that ending section 21 would impart a sense of stability, while 40% agreed that its removal would make them more inclined to engage with the new ombudsman for the private tented sector.