Against a backdrop of sub-par living standards and a challenging financial climate, does the UK's rising population of tenants need a Minister for Renting?
Well perhaps, Yes. Founder and CEO of Love to Rent, Anne-Marie Brown, has written to the Prime Minister and Government Ministers urging him to support millions of tenants across the country by calling for the appointment.
In the letter, co-signed by industry names including Arcadis, Folio and Hera, Anne-Marie Brown has called for the formal appointment to “oversee and raise standards for millions of people currently in rental accommodation, much of which is not fit for purpose and to enforce standards on landlords who do not comply and to encourage and play a part in the growing build to rent sector which has the ability to improve lives for the future.”
The letter comes in the wake of the growing Build to Rent sector, which is expected to be worth £550bn, contributing to the current private rental housing value of £1.5tr. Companies such as John Lewis Partnership are also entering the market place with 20 sites identified, with them already a landlord at three properties.
On top of that 28% of the population is living in private rented accommodation with the figure projected to rise to just under 40% by 2025, overtaking owner-occupiers for the first time.
Anne-Marie continues: "Rented accommodation requires different governance than home-ownership, yet when both are being handled by the same Minister, they often focus predominately on increasing rates of home-ownership to the detriment of the rented market.
"Younger generations are becoming increasingly less reliant on private ownership in favour of rental properties that provides a secure and flexible lifestyle and this demand is only set to increase, as the Build to Rent sector continues to flourish.
"As the number of people renting rises and the profile of renters changes - with more families and older people choosing to rent - we need to refocus the agenda, placing more emphasis on improving conditions for renters, including holding landlords to account for poor performance and promoting longer more secure tenancies.
"People have also started to re-evaluate where they want to live and what they want out of a home since the start of the pandemic, with many looking for pet-friendly developments, space to work from home, access to high-speed broadband and also social and community events to allow for social interaction. Love to Rent is the perfect portal to find these homes."
Richard Jones from Arcadis, added: “The Government should recognise that providing appropriate placed to live should be their focus with the growing rental market being a key element, not just homeownership.”