Eating and heating sidelined as PRS tenants try to cope with soaring rents
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Health
Key players move to position private rented sector as tenure of choice to solve housing crisis
Escalating rent costs are forcing two in five of those in the private rented sector to cut back on heating, while a third are avoiding buying food, a shock poll has revealed.
The worrying survey of 1,004 Brits found that the high cost of rents is the number one concern for those in the PRS, with 52% saying their biggest problem as renters are the current costs.
And for two thirds of private renters, there is no alternative: 67%, around six million people, say that the main reason they rent is because they cannot afford to buy their own property.
Despite high costs, conditions remain poor for many private renters. One in three told the survey (33%) that they are living in properties with unacceptable dampness.
And many feel landlords often fail to care about poor conditions, with 35% claiming that their property's owner does not seem particularly interested in their living conditions.
The survey was carried out on behalf of Generation Rent, the campaign for professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable privately rented homes.
Generation Rent is campaigning to end the multiple problems that private renters face – involving high rents, poor conditions, short-term and insecure tenancies and mistreatment by landlords and letting agents.
It is calling for a national register of landlords, licensing of letting agents, minimum conditions as a prerequisite of letting as well as longer, more secure tenancies and more affordable privately rented homes.
The campaigning group has received a grant of £725,000 from the Nationwide Foundation, which supports organisations working to create decent, affordable homes.
The most recent English Housing Survey showed that the PRS has now overtaken social housing as the second largest type of tenure after homeownership, amounting to approximately 9.1 million people renting in England alone.
Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: "Across the country, high rents are hitting private tenants who have no alternative while home ownership remains unaffordable. With millions having to cut back on essentials like food and heating, it is clear that rents are a large cause of modern human misery.
"Our poll also shows that even with such high outgoings, renters still too often face problems with the condition of their homes.
"Politicians can no longer ignore the millions who are stuck renting and feeling ripped off. The Government need to help build many more affordable, privately rented homes, and bring in national minimum standards as a precondition of letting."
Leigh Pearce, the Nationwide Foundation's interim chief executive, added: "The Nationwide Foundation believes that everyone should have access to a decent home they can afford. Sadly as the research shows, this is not the reality for many renters in the UK today.
"By funding Generation Rent, we believe the difficulties that private tenants face will be better highlighted. Generation Rent is identifying meaningful changes that will enable renting to become a more satisfactory tenure."