Briefing: Poor Quality Conditions and Disrepair in Private Rented Sector Housing

By: Ami McCarthy
Published: 14th March 2022

Briefing: Poor Quality Conditions and Disrepair in Private Rented Sector Housing

The private rented sector accounts for some of the oldest housing stock in England and remains the tenure with the lowest standards, based on the government’s Decent Homes Standard (DHS). The English Housing Survey 2020-21 found 21% of homes in the PRS do not meet the DHS with 12% having a Category 1 hazard, therefore posing a significant safety risk.

A third of all PRS homes were built before 1919, compared with only a fifth of owner-occupied homes. Perhaps because of their age, 6% of PRS homes have two or more significant faults that cause them to fail the DHS, compared with only 4% of owner-occupied homes. Shelter’s PRS tenants survey (2021), found that 60% of tenant’s complaints are due to the condition of the property and lack of repairs. And a quarter (24%) say they
were dissatisfied with repairs once done.

PRS homes on average also have the worst energy standards, with an average Standard Assessment Procedure rating of 65/100. This means private renters will on average have to pay significantly more in heating bills due to poor insulation, inefficient heating systems or lack of double-glazing. Private renters are already paying higher housing costs than any other tenure, with average private rents being significantly higher than mortgage repayments or social housing costs. With the current cost of living crisis starting to bite, and energy
prices set to rise further, private renters are in a precarious position.