Why we are transforming the private rented sector
The private rented sector is too often characterised by insecurity, poor living conditions, high rents and lack of choice, meaning that many tenants experience instability and inequality. In addition, growth of the private rented sector in recent years means that it is now larger than the social housing sector and in many cases it is now the only housing option accessible to many of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK.
The unacceptable living conditions and the number of already disadvantaged people being forced to live in these homes is having a massive negative social impact, not just on individuals, but on our society as whole. People are suffering from the financial hardship because of unaffordable housing costs, and the private rented sector also affects physical and mental health, as well opportunities to maximise employment and education. Combined, these disadvantages make it very difficult to establish settled and financially secure lives.
The change we want to see is that private rented sector provides homes for people in need which are more affordable, secure, accessible and are better quality.
We believe that the private rented sector needs radical action: making improvements will not be enough to make a meaningful difference. Instead we want to help transform the sector so that it offers truly decent and affordable homes to every private tenant.
We want to see more robust evidence of the solutions to address the issues of cost, quality, security and access in the PRS being used to inform policy and practice. In addition, we would like tackling the issues of the private rented sector to be a greater priority for government (local, devolved and national).
We want to help create a future of private renting where tenants are better able to access and sustain their tenancies; where landlords deliver a higher quality of service to tenants; where tenants have a strong voice in the debates about housing; and where tenants have robust rights which are effectively enforced.
To begin with, the focus of our support will be on building more robust knowledge about the state of the private rented sector. In 2008, the original Rugg Review provided a comprehensive picture of the private rented sector, but there have been stark changes and considerable growth to the sector since then, with little agreement about what is truly happening. We are funding fresh, up-to-date analysis to be undertaken. We want this work to enable service providers and policymakers to make good decisions based on comprehensive and up-to-date information.
We will also be supporting a region of the UK to implement, test and learn from significant changes to its housing delivery for private rented sector. We will be working with service deliverers, local authorities as well as local tenants and landlords. This work will consider the under-representation of tenants and seek ways to amplify their voices. It will also use the experiences of those living in the sector to shape policies.
We are working with identified partners for this work but there is currently no funding available outside of this.