Calls for the government to protect tenants

By Will Leyland, 26 July 2017

Today, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is one of the most popular tenures in the UK and is growing year after year. There are now 2.5 million more households in the PRS compared to those in the sector in 2000. Official figures have shown that more than 20% of households are renting from private landlords, particularly amongst the younger generation who are more likely to rent rather than buy their own home.

With the rapid growth of the industry, various issues have arisen with many calling on the government to address the tenant protection. The charity Citizens Advice claim that an independent complaints body should exist to support private renters who have a fear of asking their private landlords to carry out repairs in case of being evicted.

In the last 12 months Citizens Advice has helped more than 16,000 tenants who are living in poor quality rental homes. The latest research suggests that some renters are put off from making complaints in the fear that they will be evicted from their home by their landlord.

Only an estimated 0.005% of homes in the private rented sector are covered by a protection scheme and now Citizens Advice is looking to change this and make membership a compulsory measure in the sector.

This comes after news broke about more landlord-tenant relationships deteriorating due to the difference between what landlords believe that tenants need and what tenant expectations actually are. According to the report, almost half of landlords have had disagreements with their tenants over issues which range from cleaning and maintenance to home improvements.

People in a younger age bracket have been more likely to fall out with their landlord with 65% of 18 to 24 years old reported to having an argument, whilst only 34% of people at 65 and over had issues with their landlord. The research proves significant as private rented sector is heavily populated with younger tenants, making the needs of people in this age group more important than any other. As homeownership becomes more challenging for young professionals today, the proportion of young people renting is set to grow rapidly.

Knight Frank has forecasted that the private rented sector will be home to 5.79 million households in 2021, showing growth of approximately 24% in the next four years. With such a huge proportion of households to move into this sector, more needs to be done to meet the requirements of tenants who are paying a premium for rent homes that are simply not up to standard.

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