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Renters ‘failed’ as tenant numbers increase

Written by: Emma Lunn
Census data from 2021 shows the proportion of households who own the home they live in has fallen, while the proportion of households who rent their property has increased.

According to the data from the Office for National Statistics, in England and Wales 62.5% (15.5 million) of households owned their accommodation in 2021, down from 64.3% (15 million) in 2011.

In the same period the proportion of Brits renting has increased. In 2021 37.3% (9.3 million) of households rented their homes, up from 34.3% (eight million) in 2011.

Of those who rent, 20.3% (five million) rented their accommodation privately, up from 16.7% (3.9 million) in 2011. A further 17.1% (4.2 million) were in the social rented sector, for example through a local council or housing association; this is a smaller proportion than in 2011 (17.6%, equating to 4.1 million).

Overall home ownership (the percentage of households who owned their accommodation outright or with a mortgage, loan or shared ownership) was higher in Wales (66.4%) than in England (62.3%). 

However, home ownership has decreased in both nations since 2011 (from 67.8% in Wales and 64.1% in England).

Within England, London had the lowest level of overall home ownership (46.8%) of any English region. London also had the highest proportion of households who rented privately (30%) or in the social rented sector (23.1%).

‘Private rented sector is the fastest growing tenure’

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, said: “Despite an array of supposedly pro-home ownership policies over the past decade, the private rented sector was the fastest growing tenure. A million more households are paying high rents to private landlords, face a much greater risk of living in a poor quality home than other tenures, and live with the threat of eviction at short notice without the chance to appeal.

“In 2019, the government belatedly recognised the need for a much better deal for private tenants, including the abolition of unfair Section 21 evictions, but as we start 2023 we are still waiting for the legislation that will make this a reality.”

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