Putting Down Roots

In this report the attention of the Commission turns to the private rented sector – a housing sector that has experienced rapid growth in the last two decades, with now some 4.5 million households renting in England. In the decade to 2017 alone, the number of renting households with children increased by just shy of one million. The number of renters on below average incomes increased by 1.5 million. And the number of older renters (aged 65+) increased by almost 150,000.

The liberalisation of the private rental market in the 1980s breathed new life into a stagnant sector and introduced new powers for landlords. Many of whom, beforehand, could count on few legal rights to gain possession of the properties they owned. The new regime also meant that more of the people most likely to rent privately and benefit from its flexibility – that is, students, travelling workers and young people – could take advantage of the increased dynamism (but overall reduction in security of tenure) in the sector.

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