Briefing: unsettled and insecure - The toll insecure private renting is taking on English families

By: John Bibby  Published: February 2017


This briefing details the findings of new research looking at the impact that insecure private renting is having on families with children. It finds that the insecurity of renting and is making families worry about being forced to move home and struggle to settle in their homes. It looks at the implications of this, given the growing number of families with children who live in a rented home, and recommends a change to renting law as the only solution.

Summary

All families need a stable home – somewhere they feel safe, secure and have enough certainty to settle down. They need to be able to plan their finances, their job, working hours, childcare and where their children will go to school.

But for many of the 2.5 million parents on ordinary incomes who now live in the private rented sector, their home doesn’t meet these criteria. They live on temporary contracts, from one six or twelve month tenancy to the next. The risk of being evicted when their contract comes to an
end or not having their tenancy renewed are a part of their everyday life that stops them from planning for the long-term. Some live with even with less certainty, on a rolling, month-to-month contract and live under the constant threat of being asked to leave.

This research shows that this insecurity has a profound effect on their lives, even if they aren't forced to move. It finds that more than one in ten parents say the insecurity of renting is making it difficult for their child to settle. One in three have worried about losing their home in the last 12 months. And two in five worry they will be forced to move their child's school as a result of being forced to move home.

With a growing number of families expected to raise children in a private rented home in the future, change is clearly needed. We are calling for a change in the law, to introduce five year tenancies with more security so that families are able to plan for the future and feel settled in their homes.

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