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Latest Voice of the Tenant Survey (Wave 3) published

The TDS Charitable Foundation published the results of its latest Voice of the Tenant survey, carried out with a representative sample of 2000 renters in September 2023. The data is intended to inform debate and support evidence-based policy making in respect of the private rented sector.

 

The full results of the survey can be accessed here


A summary of the headline findings can be accessed here.

 

Affordability concerns 

 

The survey showed that almost one-third of tenants struggle to afford the rent each month, and around 40% are behind with their rent.

 

Furthermore, tenants reported an average increase of 17% in the cost of their rent in the past year, with a more substantial increase of 27% in rural areas.

 

The survey also showed that 14% of tenants are in rent arrears, but the majority of these are taking proactive steps to address the situation. 


Significantly, more than half (52%) of tenants are regularly forced to cutback on household essentials like food and heating, to make rent payments. 40% of tenants are finding it difficult to afford energy bills, with single parents and those subject to the freeze in Local Housing Allowance (LHA) hit hardest. 


These affordability issues can hinder tenants’ capacity to save for the future. Indeed, despite most tenants aspiring towards homeownership (68%), the current high cost of rent may affect their ability to save for a deposit on a mortgage. However, highlighting the mismatch between aspirations and expectations, 44% of tenants said they expect to be life-long renters, while 35% are certain this won’t be the case. 

 

Experiences amongst different tenant groups


The survey found experiences vary amongst tenants according to key characteristics. 

Renters who identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups are more likely to be impacted by the current affordability issues. They are also more likely to face challenges, including discrimination, during their property search. 


Older renters are one of the fastest growing tenant groups, and show the greatest inclination to consider their rental property as a long-term home.


Students are more likely to encounter difficulties when searching for a new property, with 84% facing challenges compared to 70% of all tenants. They also are more likely to find it challenging to afford their monthly rent.


A total of 26% of tenants report being in receipt of benefits to help pay their rent. 11% of these are subject to the LHA cap, which has proved challenging for many. In the Autumn 2023 statement, the Government confirmed that the LHA rate will be unfrozen and returned to the 30th percentile of local rents, which, this survey shows, will be a welcome development for those affected.


38% of tenants have pets in their property, although 28% of pet owners said finding a landlord that permits pets was a challenge when searching for their current rental property.

 

Tenant awareness of the Renters (Reform) Bill

 

83% of tenants are unaware of the planned reforms to the private rented sector in the Renters (Reform) Bill.

 

In regard to the proposed changes, 60% of tenants agreed that ending section 21 would impart a sense of stability, while 40% agreed that its removal would make them more inclined to engage with the new ombudsman for the private tented sector. 

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