Image Promo description

Register to use our site and access free newsletters, book events and lots more.

You don't have to be a member to use our site. Already registered? Login here

Become a member today

The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Millions of private renters putting up with substandard homes


A third of private rented homes in England are failing decency standards according to a new report. Thirty-three per cent of the country’s private rented homes would have failed the government’s Decent Homes Standard (the test for social housing introduced in 2000) in 2012, according to analysis in the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) UK Housing Review 2014, which is being launched today.

to let signsIn contrast, just 15 per cent of social rented homes failed to meet the standard in 2012, down from 29 per cent in 2006.

According to latest figures from the English Housing Survey, in 2012-13 the private rented sector overtook the social rented sector to become the second biggest tenure in England (after home ownership.) There are four million private rented households in the country (18 per cent of all households) compared with 3.7 million social rented households (17 per cent).

CIH chief executive Grainia Long said the government should look at new ways of improving standards in the private rented sector by targeting tax allowances.  Private landlords currently benefit from around £7bn of tax allowances per year for deductible expenses such as repairs and maintenance, insurance and professional fees, but they don’t target or incentivise higher standards. If landlords who committed to a higher level of standards benefited from a more targeted allowance, while those who did not saw their allowances stay the same or even reduce, the government could encourage higher standards – without needing to find any extra money.

She added: “This government has focused on measures to boost home ownership, but with more and more people living in the private rented sector – including more older people, more families with children and more vulnerable people from the housing waiting list – it’s vital that we look carefully at new ways to raise standards.”

The growth of the private rented sector has been fuelled by the constraints on home ownership.  Much of the growth has been financed through the buy to let market mortgage market, which the UK Housing Review shows has recovered sharply after the downturn.  Lending fell from a peak of £46 billion of loans in 2007 to £9 billion in 2010, before moving back up to £21 billion in 2013, with buy to let landlords being able to access interest-only mortgages more easily than first-time buyers.

The UK Housing Review 2014 has been sponsored by Affinity Sutton, Broadland, Crisis, HouseMark, L&Q, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Orbit Housing Group and the Scottish Government. It is being launched today at CIH’s office on Grays Inn Road, London.  Speakers include CIH director of policy and practice Gavin Smart, Million Homes, Million Lives co-founder Natalie Elphicke, CIH President Paul Tennant and review authors Steve Wilcox and John Perry.

Buy the UK Housing Review 2014 online or call 024 7685 1700

Related content

UK Housing Review 2014: Costs soar for first-time buyers

UK Housing Review 2014: Listen to author John Perry's podcast

CIH Private rented sector conference - 5 June, London

Media coverage

Financial Times: UK's tighter lending rules hit first-time buyers

Independent: Third of rented homes 'not up to standard'

Guardian Housing Network: The government has lost control of the housing market

Inside Housing: Associations 'could struggle to build affordable homes after 2015'

Please log in to comment

Your comments

  • ?Important as it is to raise standards in the private rented sector it is not the only issue; the security afforded by an AST makes them unsuitable for those with children and older people who cannot afford to buy. Rents reflect high property values and ever increasing HB. Is it time to consider setting rent ceilings and more security? As to providing tax incentives to private landlords, it assumes they declare the rental income in the first place!

    Hogan, Thomas Patrick

Join today

We’re here to help you make a difference. Join CIH today and discover your potential


Fire safety

All the latest info and fire safety resources for housing professionals


The new housing apprenticeships

With a century of experience equipping housing professionals with the skills they need to do the brilliant work they do, we can help you make the most of the new housing apprenticeships – whatever stage of the journey you are at.