Private Renting Crisis: Why Is It So Bad?

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Journalist Lewis Goodall speaks to activists, renters, estate agents and landlords, and asks – why is private renting so bad? The latest TheNewsAgents podcast episode is free to listen and explains why.

We often hear about mortgage rates going up, but perhaps not enough scrutiny is paid on the private renting sector… a sector that has enormous demand, and next to no supply. On 11th November 2022, the leading property search portal Rightmove had only 100 properties in the whole of London for two bedrooms at £1500 a month or less. And it’s not just a London problem. The listings of the same criteria were 85 for Edinburgh, 111 for Bristol and only 38 for Briton.

The statistics show an even bleaker picture:

  • two in five private renters (that’s 1.7m households!) are reliant on housing benefit to cover their rent;
  • the number of properties available for rent has fallen by 57% in the last three years;
  • the demand is so high and supply so short that estate agents are reporting a fierce competition between tenants, with properties ending up rented for 17% above the asking price;
  • increases in mortgage payments for landlords due to Liz Truss’s Mini-Budget means that the costs are inevitably passed on to the tenants to cover.

Who’s to blame? And how do we fix it?

The podcast episode seeks to answer the above questions by speaking to an estate agent, a landlady with half a dozen properties, a housing correspondent for the “I” paper Vicky Spratt and Vanessa Warwick, founder of Property Tribes, a forum for private landlords.

The podcast episode is free to listen here

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