One in three private rented homes not ‘decent’ to live in

Robyn Hall

October 10, 2012

Since 2001 the number of private rented homes has grown from 2.06m to 3.62m households (a rise of 75%). The growth in the rental sector is set to increase with 22% of all households living in privately rented homes by 2025.

Although the growth in the private rented sector will mean the sector becomes a mainstream part of the housing market, relatively little data about the condition of these homes is available at a household level.

To address this, Shelter and British Gas are commissioning the widest ever census of private rented living.

It is estimated that the five-year partnership will help one million British households improve the standard of their homes.

Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas, said: “At British Gas we visit 50,000 homes everyday keeping our customers’ homes safe, warm and working.

“However, private rented homes are lagging behind owner occupied homes and the social housing improvement programmes we are proud to support.

“Dilapidated properties with dangerous or inefficient old boilers and inadequate insulation are far too prevalent in the private rental sector. We need a culture of energy efficiency, and standards need to be raised.

“British Gas is proud to be joining forces with Shelter.

“Together we plan to deliver better standards in the private rented sector, better support for tenants and, most importantly, better homes for Britain.”

Campbell Robb, CEO of Shelter, said: “A lack of affordable housing and the difficulties facing young people today in getting on the property ladder mean renting is now a long-term way of life for more and more families across the country.

“With these increasing levels of demand, it is totally unacceptable that so many of our rented properties are still not meeting the basic standards families should be able to expect in their home. At Shelter we see so many shocking examples of families forced to live in homes that are damp, in appalling condition or even unsafe to live in.

“Together with British Gas, we’ll have the scale and reach to improve the condition of a million homes and set out the policy reform we need to improve our private rental sector for good.”

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