Sir Bob Neil, former Communities minister, has expressed his concern at the current state of the “broken” UK rental market.
The Tory MP aired his views after the findings of a new poll, which he described as “socking”, revealed that one in three tenants are struggling to afford their rent, rising to almost half – 46% – of Londoners.
The survey of 4,000 renters, commissioned by property investment firm Castleforge, exposes the difficulties faced by those in the private rented sector, with the cost and poor quality of housing.
According to the study, rising mortgage rates have made renters feel vulnerable to their landlord’s personal financial situation, with 32% agreeing that their rent or tenancy had been affected.
Sir Bob Neill said: “These shocking findings are yet more evidence that the UK rental market is broken. Innovation is desperately needed to help keep rents down, and tenants protected.
“The government should look to ensure more professionally run, affordably priced private rentals are available to fill the gap between social rents and traditional tenancies. There is an opportunity to do just that in the Renters (Reform) Bill presently before Parliament.”
Meanwhile more than two in five – 42% – renters say their home needs to be refurbished to be comfortable. Almost a third – 31% – have lived in poor quality or unsafe rentals in the last five years.
Londoners are most exposed to unsafe conditions, with 55% of private tenants agreeing their rental home needs renovations and 41% saying they have lived in poor quality or unsafe rentals in the last five years.
Michael Kovacs, founding partner of Castleforge, commented: “The housing and cost of living crisis in the UK has significantly exacerbated the issues faced by private renters.
“Private landlords that own one or two homes are being buffeted by mortgage rates, and their own financial insecurity is then passed on to tenants. Too many renters are finding themselves having to move or having to put up with delays to vital renovations.
“The findings show the vital need not just for more state sponsored affordable housing but for an expanded professional, private sector committed to keeping homes maintained and innovating to create rented homes that are affordable for typical renters.”