The increased size of the UK's Private Rented Sector (PRS) has been clear for all to see in the last few years.
We're frequently reminded that more people are renting from private landlords than ever before.
But out of the UK's population of around 65 million people and 26 million+ households, just how many are landlords and tenants in the PRS?
We've taken a closer look at some of the statistics and figures available...
- The number of landlords in the UK increased by 7% to reach 1.75 million in 2013-2014 (HMRC)
- Landlords banked a total of £14.2 billion during 2013-14, up from £13.1 billion in the previous year (HMRC)
- In 2014, two million private landlords owned and let five million properties in the UK (Paragon)
The figures seem to suggest that there are currently approximately two million private landlords in the UK. Paragon's 18 years of buy-to-let report, released in 2014, suggested that 89% of UK landlords are private individuals. In the same year, Countrywide reported that 93% of its landlords have just one rental property.
In recent times landlords' resolve has been tested, as indicated by the NLA's prediction that 500,000 rental properties will leave the PRS before February next year. That said, property consultancy Allsop's latest 'Rent Check' found that 18% of landlords intend to purchase at least one more property in the next year and that 71% rate property investment as preferable to any other form of investment.
It's very possible that the Government's measures for the buy-to-let sector – including a raft of tax changes and incoming restrictions to buy-to-let mortgage lending – will have an effect on the UK's landlord population.
However, as property remains such a steady investment asset class and a new generation of buy-to-let investors start building their portfolios, it's unlikely we'll see the total number of landlords in the UK fall in the next few years.
- In 2014-2015, 19% of households – equivalent to 4.3 million – were renting privately (English Housing Survey)
- The number of private tenants in England reached 3.84 million in 2011-2012 (English Housing Survey)
- Some 59% of 20 to 39 year-olds in England will be privately renting by 2025 (PwC)
- In 2015 there were 5.4 million households in the UK's PRS, a number which will grow to 7.2 million by 2025 (PwC)
- In 2015 the PRS accounted for 22% of all UK households (ResPublica)
The figures suggest that the number of private tenants in the UK is currently around the four million mark and has been rising steadily since the 1980s. Although many tenants – especially those under 35 – enjoy the flexibility renting offers, the main driver behind the increased number of tenants is the unaffordability of homes as people struggle to get on the housing ladder.
That's not to say that tenants are unhappy with their lot – far from it. A National Landlords Association survey found that 79% of tenants are satisfied with their circumstances and current landlord, with the happiest tenants being found in the East Midlands, North West and South West. In addition, HomeLet's tenant survey found that 90% of tenant are 'happy' or 'quite 'happy' with their landlord, while 78% were 'happy' or 'quite happy' with the service they received from their letting agent.
What's more, 86% of those surveyed said they were happy with the standard of their rented home, while 88% felt that their landlord or letting agent was approachable.
In recent times, more tenants are sharing rental properties perhaps in a bid to save money or perhaps to live in a more communal atmosphere. Our data shows that tenants living on their own accounted for just 33% of new tenancies in 2015, down from 67% in 2008. During the same period the number of tenancies signed by two tenants and three or more tenants both increased significantly.
The UK's private tenant population is likely to remain at a similar level over the next few years, if not continuing to rise. Unless house prices start to fall dramatically, there's unlikely to be a mass exodus of tenants from the PRS and as the UK's young adults wait for their time to purchase a home, private renting looks set to remain the tenure of choice.
Despite a series of Government interventions, rising rents and increased regulation, it's clear to see from many of the figures available that the UK's PRS is thriving. Landlords and tenants will have to adapt to a continually changing landscape, but private renting is likely to remain popular with many of the UK's young adults and buy-to-let – despite some setbacks – is sure to retain its appeal among investors.
This positive outlook means that the UK's letting agents will be kept busy over the coming years, using their experience and local know-how to help ensure that landlords and tenants benefit from long-term, hassle-free and mutually beneficial tenancies.