Posted 17 Feb 2016
Unstable renting sees quarter of families move three times in five years
Housing charity Shelter has today exposed the instability of private renting, with new research showing that 27% of renting families in England have moved three or more times in the last five years alone. This is the equivalent of over 400,000 families.
The Shelter and YouGov study of more than 3,700 private renters – the largest of its kind –uncovered that nearly half of renting parents (46%) were forced to borrow money or had fallen behind on other payments, as a result of the costs associated with their last move.
Alongside the strain on their finances, parents reported that the lack of stability had a damaging effect on their children. More than one in four said that moving had a negative impact, with many reporting that it left their children feeling distressed, upset and insecure.
Alarmingly, the charity's research also found that 65,000 privately renting families had been left with no choice but to change their children's school when they last had to move home.
Shelter's frontline advisers speak to hundreds of private renting families every day who are struggling with frequent moves. Families like Sonia and her 11 year old daughter Anna, who were forced to move three times in just two years, before they were able to settle in a more stable housing association home.
Sonia says: "My daughter has really struggled with all the moving and so much change. I've had nights of her asking me 'what else can go wrong? I feel like I've let her down because she's had to go through all of this at such young age. The insecurity really has affected her – it has left her anxious and always wondering what will happen next. Her self-esteem and confidence has definitely taken a knock."
The charity is calling on the government to make urgent reforms to private renting, including the introduction of longer term tenancies to give families the security they desperately need.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "Today's sky high housing costs mean private renting is no longer just a stepping stone for young adults – it's where a quarter of all families in England have to live. It's shocking therefore that it is still not fit for purpose.
"With short-term contracts, sudden rent hikes and expensive moving costs putting huge pressure on family life, it's no wonder that millions of parents are battling to give their children a stable home.
"We know the vast majority of parents are crying out for longer term tenancies, so it's about time the government turned this into a reality and gave England's 11 million private renters a better deal."
Notes to editors:
- Shelter is calling on the government to put an end to unstable, unaffordable and unsafe renting. See how together we can fix private renting where you live www.shelter.org.uk/fixrenting
- Anyone having problems with private renting can get free and independent expert advice from Shelter at shelter.org.uk/advice or by calling the helpline on 0808 800 4444.
- When asked 'Thinking about the last five years (i.e. since 2010)….How many times, if any, have you moved from one privately rented accommodation to another?', 27% of private renters with children in the household said 3 or more times. YouGov survey of 4,900 private renters in GB, 3792 in England, 784 of whom had children in their home. Online, July 2015, weighted by demographics of GB private renters.
- The equivalent of over 400,000 families is calculated by taking the 27% as a proportion of the 1.521 million private renting families in the English Housing Survey, DCLG, 2014/15
- 26% of families in the YouGov survey of 3792 renters in England said that their last move caused one of the following: I had to change my children's school/ My children missed school due to the move/ My child had to leave friends behind/ Moving has affected my child/ children's progress at school/ My child's education was affected by the move/ My child would have preferred not to move/ I was worried about my child feeling stable and secure during the move/ The move was stressful or upsetting for my child
- 65,000 families forced to move their children(s) school is estimated using data from the English Housing survey and YouGov research for Shelter. There are 1.521 million renting families with children in England; 67% have moved within private renting in the last five years; 6.35% had to move their child as a result of their last move.
- 92% of families in the YouGov survey of 3793 renters in England said that when they are looking for a new rented home it is important that it is somewhere they can stay long term if they want to.