How satisfied are tenants with renting?

In the survey conducted by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), 81% said they are happy with their current property, and 85% said they are satisfied with their landlord

How satisfied are tenants with renting?

Most people renting their home in the private sector are content with their property and landlord, the results of a new survey have shown.

In the survey conducted by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), 81% said they are happy with their current property, and 85% said they are satisfied with their landlord.

SMF said that this finding is contrary to some narratives that suggest renting is an inherently unhappy experience.

“Dominant cultural narratives about the private rented sector paint a misleading picture. In contrast to the horror stories that get wide circulation, the majority of renters are satisfied with their living conditions and have decent relationships with their landlords,” Aveek Bhattacharya, SMF economist and one of the report authors, said.

“The outdated and tired clichés around private renting need to be challenged and I welcome the findings from SMF’s report. In our experience, the vast majority of landlords seek to provide a good quality home and enjoy a healthy relationship with their tenants; the significant investment in private rented property by landlords has helped drive up standards over the past 15 years and today homes in the sector are generally newer, larger and more energy efficient than ever before,” Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, said.

Read more: Three quarters of tenants have good relationship with landlord.

Meanwhile, the greatest source of dissatisfaction among tenants is having the status of “being a renter” though only a minority of renters (34%) said they are dissatisfied with this status. SMF said that this suggests that where people are unhappy in the private rented sector, it is not about their living circumstances, but about the fact of having to rent rather than own a home.

The survey also found that only half of renters expect to leave the private rented sector in the next 15 years, suggesting that significant numbers will remain renters for long periods. Among them, 13% would be satisfied with long-term renting.

On the average age of tenants, SMF said that, by 2035, more than half of private renting households are likely to include someone aged 45 or older, adding that couples and families will also make up a rising proportion of renters.

These SMF findings were contained in a report on the future of the private rented sector. Though the report was sponsored by Paragon Bank, SMF said it retained editorial independence.

According to SMF, trends in housing over the coming years mean that several policy changes are still needed to ensure the rented sector continues to work well for tenants.

Read more: What percentage of household income goes to rent payments?

The SMF’s key recommendation is to enable renters to build wealth while remaining in the private rental sector, addressing their number one concern: the financial cost of renting. It also suggested that the government should increase the stability of tenancy agreements, give renters more control over their homes, increase accountability of landlords, and improve the standards of private rented properties.

“It is absolutely right that the government should seek to help the minority with poor standard accommodation and unprofessional landlords. At the same time, it needs to think harder about what it can offer the typical renter – who is largely happy with their circumstances today, but has doubts about whether they want to keep renting long-term,” Bhattacharya said.

“Giving renters more control over their homes – allowing them to keep pets or decorate would help. So would incentivizing landlords to make improvements to properties to make them good, and not just decent. But perhaps the biggest challenge is developing policies that can persuade renters that they are not missing out on financial security and stability if they don’t own their home.”