The demand for private rental homes in England has never been stronger. The English Housing Survey 2011/2012, recently published by the Department for Communities & Local Government, shows that for the first time since the 1950s, more people are renting privately than from local authorities and social housing landlords.
Census figures reveal that the number of households in the private rented sector increased from 2.6 million to 4.2 million between 2001 and 2011 across England and Wales. It is estimated that around 4.8 million UK households were renting privately in 2012. The private rented sector now accounts for around 18 percent of households across England and Wales, with tenancies concentrating in urban areas and reaching a peak in London.
The boom has been fuelled by a number of factors. Rising house prices, combined with difficulties raising large enough deposits to secure mortgages have put home ownership out of the reach of many. Levels of house building are at an all-time low, creating a gap between demand and supply.
Privately rented accommodation can be secured much more rapidly than social housing so is a clear sway for those looking to rent. London is a hotspot for foreign and domestic buy-to-let investors, who can continue to capitalise on the market by becoming private landlords. Renting at all stages of life has become an accepted norm and the trend looks set to continue.
Private landlords keen to benefit from the unprecedented demand for rental properties should always take steps to protect themselves and their investments by taking out landlords insurance and conducting rigorous checks on prospective tenants.