17% of all tenants want to complain about renting experience

While most tenants went on to lodge a complaint, some were put off by fear of the consequences, the English Housing Survey finds.

unhappy tenants

Nearly one in five tenants wanted to complain to their landlord or letting agent, a new government survey has revealed.

Approxiamtely 772,000 private rented households, or 17% of the total, had cause to make a complaint, according to the English Housing Survey, published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Most of these tenants (77%) did make a complaint to their landlord or letting agent, but 23% did not say anything because they were worried about the consequences.

“A small proportion did not [complain] because they were worried that the landlord would retaliate and/or not renew their tenancy,” the survey reported.

The most common reasons for not making a complaint were concern over retaliation by the landlord (15%), concern that tenancies wouldn’t be renewed (14%), and the time and hassle it takes to complain (13%).

Renters want to move

Other findings in the survey, which examined the PRS in 2020-21, included:

  • Nearly three quarters of private renters said their last tenancy ended because they wanted to move. Fewer than a tenth said their landlord or agent asked them to leave.
    – The majority (73%) of private renters left their last tenancy because they wanted to move, and 10% said their tenancy ended because it was only for a fixed period. Fewer than one tenth (6%) said they left their last tenancy because their landlord or agent asked them to leave.
    – Of those who were evicted, the main reasons were because the landlord wanted to use or sell the property (63%), or other reasons (33%).
  • The private rented sector (PRS) is home to just over 4.4 million households, nearly one fifth of the households in England.
    – PRS accounts for 19% of households in England, larger than the social rented sector at 17%, but smaller than owner occupation, which accounts for 65% of households.
  • The majority of private renters were satisfied with their current accommodation and tenure.
    – Four-fifths (80%) of private renters are satisfied with their current accommodation – this is more than for social renters (75%), but less than owner-occupiers (94%).
    – Most private renters (63%) said they were satisfied with their tenure, though this was less than the 79% of social renters who said they were satisfied and 98% of owners.
  • On average, private renters spend 31% of their income on their rent. Private renters in receipt of housing support spend around 40% of their income on rent.
  • Private renters had lived in their current accommodation, on average, for just over four years – this was a shorter period of time than for owner-occupiers and social renters. In terms of time spent in the sector, nearly three fifths had been in the PRS for more than four years.
  • Nearly two-thirds of private renters expect to buy a home in the future. This is higher than the quarter of social renters who expect to buy. Of those private renters who do not expect to buy, more than half give affordability as the reason.

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