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Families are the most common household type in the private rented sector (PRS) for the first time, according to the latest research from the National Landlords Association (NLA).
The findings show that more landlords now let to families with children (48%) than any other household type, overtaking young couples (47%).
This represents a shift compared to four years ago, when young singles made up the largest group (53%), followed by young couples (51%), and then families with children (51%).
The PRS now accounts for approximately 5 million households in the United Kingdom and, according to the latest English Housing Survey, the proportion of families in the PRS has increased from 30% in 2004-5 to 37% in 2014-15 – an increase in roughly 1 million (912,000) households in ten years.
For the majority of families surveyed, renting privately is a stable option, with almost 8 in 10 (76%) reporting they were happy with the length of their tenancy, and a similar proportion (79%) reporting their tenancy was renewed or stayed the same at the end of the initial fixed term.
As a result, the perception of renting as a barrier to family life is breaking down, with nearly two-thirds of renting families (60%) saying that it was not. 77% of families considered their rented accommodation to be home, and the majority (65%) reported that they were free to personalise it however they chose.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:
“There is a genuine contrast between the experience of renting in the 21st century shown in this research and the prevailing housing culture in Britain that only views it as a stopgap - something to be tolerated while waiting for the opportunity to buy your own house.
“There is a rogue element to private housing that ruins the experience for far too many people, but for the majority of the 11 million private renters, renting offers an inclusive and flexible option which works for them in their current circumstances.
“Contrary to popular perception, there’s growing evidence that renting is no obstacle to putting down roots and calling somewhere home. The majority of landlords want good, stable, long-term tenancies, and these findings show that more and more are becoming receptive to helping families make a home in the private rented sector”.
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