A new research project, being carried out by the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy with support from the Nationwide Foundation, will seek to build an understanding of how the UK’s private rented sector is experienced by those renting in the least expensive 30% of properties. Taking around 12 months, the research will look closely at this section of the housing system and consider how sustainable it is, both for landlords and the people they’re letting property to.
The research will consist of:
- a study of existing data to map the less expensive end of the private rented sector
- exploratory work with letting agents to fully understand their business practices
- interviews and surveys with landlords to help build an understanding of how they ended up letting property to the UK’s poorest, as well as considering their experiences and practices in that section of the market.
Support from the Nationwide Foundation, an independent charitable funder, is being provided under the Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme. This programme seeks to transform private renting, so that it provides homes for people in need that are more affordable, secure, accessible and are better quality.
The Nationwide Foundation previously worked with the Centre for Housing Policy to undertake a landmark review of the whole of the private rented sector, resulting in The Evolving Private Rented Sector: its Contribution and Potential, published in 2018. It was this seminal review that highlighted the less expensive end of the private rented sector as being especially in need of attention and reform from policymakers.
The new research comes at a time when the private rented sector is under immense pressure, with tenants impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 considering how they might meet rent payments and possibly care for themselves and their loved ones in inadequate housing. While the research will take a longer-term view, it’s likely that information will be gathered which shines a light on how renting has been affected by the pandemic and even how well government intervention has worked.
Bridget Young, Programme Manager for the Nationwide Foundation’s Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme said: “This new research will look specifically at the less expensive end of the sector and consider how sustainable it is for both landlords and tenants. Quite simply, for the system to be working, good quality, affordable homes need to be available for people to live in, and in return for providing this service, landlords understandably will want to make money. The team at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy are incredibly well-placed to consider these questions and we look forward to working with them once again.”
More information about this research can be found here.