At the start of this month, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published its annual report into the state of the English housing market and although the headline showed the rental sector unsurprisingly continued to expand, a few key demographic shifts and statistics are worth highlighting.

Jean Marc Vandevivere Platform

The survey showed that more than half of renters are over 35 and more than one third of households are families with children. It is clear renting is not just the preserve of twentysomethings. This is why the shift to what our US cousins call ‘multi-family housing’ is so important.

Renting needs to take into account the changing face of tenants, providing amenities such as shared living rooms.

For those who rent from non-professional individual landlords, a key issue is tenure length certainty. Of the 11% of renters who have been evicted, nearly two thirds said the main reason was that their landlord wanted to either use or sell the property. This doesn’t even include renters forced to move out due to disproportionate rental increases. For us professional landlords, the main priority is retention of long-term renters for stable returns.

The survey found that 27% of rental homes fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard – although that number has fallen from 47% in 2006. Nearly one in five privately rented properties don’t even have basic fire safety precautions.

Platform_'s Bedford scheme

The interior of Platform_’s Bedford scheme

It was interesting to note that the PRS has the highest level of dissatisfaction, with more than 20% of tenants reporting they were dissatisfied with their landlord compared with only 10% for social housing. A move towards professional landlords, with residents enjoying benefits such as an onsite management team, should see dissatisfaction numbers fall as build-to-rent grows.

The report reveals the pressing need for a new kind of renting, one the BTR sector has been at the forefront of. While standards are rising, there is still an inherent insecurity faced by those renting from non-professional individual landlords.

Jean-Marc Vandevivere, chief executive, Platform_