As we approach the start of the third decade of the 21st century official figures show almost a third of all people renting in the private sector are struggling to make their payments.
New data from the English Housing Survey shows 29% said they found it either ‘fairly difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to pay their way. The remainder said they found it either fairly or very easy to make their payments.
Further analysis of the data showed that the average amount of income spent on housing costs by renters is almost double that paid by home owners.
Private renters spend 33% of what they earn on housing costs while those in social housing paid 28% and home owners only had to find 17%.
But they are only the national averages for age and location. Young renters aged 16 to 24 are having to pay 45% of their income and anyone living in London is forced to stump up 42%.
The campaign group Generation Rent says the situation is becoming so bad that some renters are having to decide between eating and keeping the roof over their heads.
Director Dan Wilson Craw says: “High rents are making life miserable for private renters.
Even for those who can cover the rent, escaping the sector by moving into home ownership is a long way off – nearly two-thirds cannot save and just one in 10 have more than £16,000 in the bank.
Long term tenure
“With millions of people growing older in private rented homes, the next Prime Minister must make it an acceptable long term tenure.
“That means protecting tenants from unfair evictions and rent rises, and doing what it takes to make rents affordable.”
But the Residential Landlords Association hit back saying the data dispels the myth that private renting means insecure tenancies and ever increasing costs.
Policy director David Smith says: “It shows that renters are spending less of their income on housing, at 33 per cent, down from 34% the previous year and 36 per cent in 2014/15, and are staying in their homes for over four years on average.
“As ministers look at ending so called ‘no fault’ evictions, the survey finds that the large majority of those who moved out of their home did so because they wanted to – either for work, a larger home or to move to a different area (72%) or because their tenancy had come to an end (8%).
“A further 10 per cent moved on mutual agreement with their landlord. The majority (84 per cent) of private renters also reported being satisfied with their current accommodation, higher than in the social rented sector.”