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Home Truths: the reality of private renting in England

Our survey of private renters in England reveals what households are dealing with at the sharpest ends of the housing emergency.

Renters are struggling

Our 2022 Home Truths survey received over 1,700 responses from private renters, highlighting to us the desperate circumstances private renters are facing every day in order to keep a roof over their heads.

Alongside the survey, our national ‘Rentquake’ research bolsters these results, demonstrating the sheer scale of the problem - with 81% of private renters saying the cost of living crisis has made it more urgent for the government to fix the country's housing problems.

From the private renters who chose to take part in this survey, we can see that amid a cost of living crisis, renters are being pushed to their limit.

The government must take urgent action to protect private renters and turn the Renters Reform Bill into law

Sign the petition

Home Truths survey results

  • 43% answered 'bad' or 'very bad' when considering their experience of private renting

  • Damp and mould are the most common renting issues facing private renters

  • 654 people told us they had experienced discrimination based on their income

1. Renters feel they have no security in their homes

  • Of the private renters who took our survey, 54% (762 out of 1411) say that have experienced being ignored by their landlord or letting agent in England

  • As many as 168 current private renters told us their concerns about the threat of eviction. Unstable living conditions have left many of these renters living in a state of anxiety and frustration, unable to complain about poor conditions for fear it might lead to eviction or rent increases

Eleanor's story

Eleanor lives in Greater Manchester with her two children, aged 12 and 13. Whilst renting she's dealt with safety hazards, which both her landlord and letting agent refuse to acknowledge or repair. Having recently been served a Section 21 eviction, she now has two weeks to leave her home.

Selfie of Eleanor

I'll be homeless in the next few weeks, I have nowhere to go and can't afford current private rent prices, I work, pay my taxes, and do everything by the book. It's made me feel like I've failed my kids, I can't even provide a roof over their heads now. I’m going to have to split my family up just so we all have somewhere to sleep My health is suffering massively and I don't know how much more I can take.

- Eleanor

The Renters Reform Bill would give renters more security in their homes by making section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions illegal

2. Renters say living conditions are poorly affecting their mental and physical health

  • Over 940 current private renters told us that they were renting homes in poor conditions. This includes living with damp and mould, broken appliances and safety hazards

  • Over 50 private renters told us that living in these conditions is damaging their mental health

I'm stuck on the highest possible tariffs in a flat that has no air circulation and gets mouldy walls, cupboards, wardrobes (and subsequently my clothes) unless the heating is on, which I now can't afford anyway due to two price rises.

- Kunal, London

By introducing a national landlord property portal and a Decent Homes Standard, the Renters Reform Bill would drive up standards across the sector

3. Renters are facing discrimination based on their income

We’re finally in a two-bed. We need three bedrooms but am so scared of the discrimination I felt when looking for this place

- Simone, Reading

Percentage of survey respondents who have been blocked by 'No DSS' adverts or policies

Bar chart showing percentages of respondents who say that have experienced income discrimination when private renting. Results show 76% said 'yes', 18% said 'no' and 6% said 'prefer not to say'. The data comes from the Renters' Home Truths survey: 2022 via Survey Monkey

The government has promised to make income discrimination illegal as part of Renters Reform Bill plans

4. The cost of living crisis is making matters worse

  • Renters are worried about being able to afford their rent, bills, and heating

I'm not going to be able to pay for my rent, bills and food and will not have any quality of life outside of trying to juggle these basics. What am I living for?

- Trudy, Portsmouth

Our new research shows that 1 in 3 renters are spending at least half of their household income on rent

Your voice is powerful

Earlier this year, the government published the Renters Reform Bill. We must now keep the pressure on and make sure that we get our voices heard as the bill is debated in parliament and turned into law.

Renters nationwide are getting involved. Together, we can make sure that the government changes the law to give renters security in their homes and the power to assert their rights.

Support the Renters Reform Bill:

Sign the petition