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‘Point-scoring politicians’ are exaggerating poor standards in the PRS

Landlords are spending many £1000s improving their properties but campaigners and ministers ignore this, it is claimed.

Sheila Manchester

prs repairs

While politicians on all sides of the political spectrum declare war on landlords and others go even further by demanding the end of privately owned rental properties, the truth is that landlords’ spending on refurbishment has seen the quality of accommodation in the private rented sector (PRS) drastically improve in the last decade, according to the latest report Unlocking value: The role of refurbishment in buy to let by InterBay Commercial.

The standard of accommodation in the PRS has significantly improved in the last decade as the sector has expanded and professionalised. The proportion of homes in the PRS in England deemed non-decent by the ONS has fallen for ten consecutive years, decreasing to 24.5% from 44% in 2008, closing in on the level seen among owner occupied stock (18.7%).

In spite of the sector growing by 45% over the period, adding 1.5m homes, the number of non-decent homes has fallen in absolute terms too; down by 275,000. While there is clearly more work to do, the improvement is significant and sustained. As a result, the latest English Housing Survey shows that the vast majority (84%) of private renters were satisfied with their current accommodation.


InterBay’s analysis shows that landlords typically spend £12,000 on a refurbishment. Substantial works such as conversion, extensions and often requiring planning permission) on average stood at £40,000, compared to just £7,000 on a light refurbishment.

Darrell Walker (left), Head of Sales, InterBay Commercial says: “It may be an easy target for political point-scoring, but the private rented sector has been a success story since the financial crisis, catering for a growing proportion of the population that either cannot or chooses not to purchase a home. As the PRS has grown, it has also professionalised. As it has done so, the standard of accommodation for tenants has improved drastically too.

“Refurbishment has been central to this improvement. It is a win-win for tenants and landlords. Tenants see better quality accommodation, while landlords improve the rent they receive and maximise the value of the property.”

September 26, 2019

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