Families with children hit by PRS insecurity

Two in five people living with their children in privately rented homes have a tenancy of six months or less.

Rents, housing, rent, homes,

New figures by Citizens Advice finds one in three (34%) private renters would like their tenancy to be longer, rising to two in five (39%) amongst those with children.

This amounts to almost 1.5 million households in England who need more security that they’ll be able to keep living in their own home.

In recent years there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of people bringing up children in privately rented accommodation, with families making up almost four in 10 private rented households.

Last year nearly 75,000 people in England turned to Citizens Advice for help with a problem relating to a privately rented home, including repairs and maintenance, problems with letting agencies and evictions.

Based on a YouGov survey of over 2,000 private renting adults in England the research shows many families are feeling insecure in their home.

Of private renters with children living with them, nearly 60% said knowing they may be asked to move out at short notice made it difficult to plan for the future.

Over a third (35%) thought if they were asked to leave their property their current notice period would not give them enough time to find somewhere else to live, with almost half saying they would prefer not to move between properties as often as they do.

The figures also reveal nearly 80% of private renters with children have experienced problems with the quality of their home including rodent infestations, broken heating, and no hot water.

Over half (52%) had experienced problems with damp or mould, almost 30% had windows or doors which didn’t lock properly and one in five had faulty wiring.

While in many of these cases the landlord addressed the problems within month, in over a quarter of instances (27%) the problem took longer than this to resolve. And where these renters had spent their own time or money fixing a problem, 50% were not refunded for this by their landlord.

Chief executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said: “Families are living under a cloud of uncertainty – not knowing when they might need to leave their home.

“This can make planning for the future, such as where your child can go to school, a real struggle. Many families who are now enjoying the Christmas break may have to move out of their home before the summer holidays start.

“With home ownership on the decline the private rented sector in England is in need of a major overhaul. While there are signs of progress – such as the ban letting agent fees – action is needed to improve security of tenure for private tenants as well as the quality of private rented homes.”

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association commented: Every tenant has the right to expect a safe, legal and secure home.

“Whilst the majority of landlords provide a good service to their tenants, there are a minority who do not, and who have no place in a modern rental sector.

“Councils have the powers to do something about them. What is needed is a greater will to use these powers to root out the criminal landlords once and for all.”

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