Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York

Funding at a glance

Programme: Transforming the Private Rented Sector
Amount: £204,434
Approved: 2019
Timescale: 13 months
Status: Funding in progress

A thorough examination of the most inexpensive 30% of the private rented sector, with consideration of how sustainable this part of the housing market is for landlords and tenants. 


Why we are funding this project

To enable service providers and policymakers to make effective and informed decisions about ways to deliver decent, affordable housing in the private rented sector, with an improved understanding of the sector’s least expensive properties, who owns them and who rents them.

Strategic purpose

More robust evidence of the solutions to address the issues of cost, quality, security and access in the private rented sector is available and used to inform policy and practice.

Project description

In 2018, The Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York carried out an independent, comprehensive and seminal review of the private rented sector in England, The Evolving Private Rented Sector: its Contribution and Potential. This review was well received and laid out how the UK’s private rented sector works and who lives in it. Importantly, the review also highlighted how precarious life can be for those living in the least expensive housing, the ‘lower end’ of the market.

This new study, to be carried out again by the Centre for Housing Policy, will address the precarity of tenants living in the lower end of the private rented sector. The study will review this part of the market, map it geographically to see where pockets or hotspots exist and assess whether the lower end of the private rented sector constitutes a sustainable way of housing people.

By specifically focussing on landlord and letting agent behaviour, this review hopes to build an understanding of which landlords might be leaving the market, whether they’re being replaced by new ones and how changes to the benefits system might have altered the way that they operate. This will be achieved by carrying out in-depth interviews with landlords operating in this area of the private rental market. Ultimately, this study hopes to allow us to understand whether the lower end of the private rented sector is a sustainable part of the market; in that landlords can operate a financially sound business whilst still providing a decent service to tenants.

This report is expected in early 2021.

Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York

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