Rental sector should be given better press

A recent survey we commissioned revealed that just 6% of landlords agreed with the statement that they are well respected by the public.

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While this seems low it should not come as a surprise. Landlords in the private rented sector are often seen in a less than favourable light by the media and public.

Some see renting as money down the drain and a view persists, contrary to the evidence, that landlords are pricing first-time buyers out of the market.

With little or no support from government the private rented sector has managed to expand to accommodate almost twice as many households as it did in 1990, increasing in England alone from 9.3% to 16.5% over the past 20 years.

Quality has improved at a more significant rate than the social and owner-occupied sectors, with 85% of those living in private rented accommodation satisfied with the property they live in compared with 81% in the social sector. And since 2006 the percentage of homes in the sector classed as ’indecent’ has dropped from 47% to 37%.

Buy-to-let has ensured there is competition and diversity of choice across property types and regions.

The housing market is in transition – we are buying less, renting more and perhaps heading towards a European model where individuals store less of their wealth in residential property and invest more in the economy.

On our way to this new paradigm we perhaps need to reassess the role that private landlords are playing in facilitating this change.