A leading PropTech expert says there’s still more that can be done by the rental sector to drive up the quality of housing in the UK.
"The government has done a lot over recent years to regulate the industry. While there has been an increase in the number of people living in private rented accommodation, there has not been a fall in standards. However, the industry can still help to raise housing standards within the sector" says Neil Cobbold, chief sales officer at PayProp.
He cites as encouraging the fact that a significant increase in the number of households residing within the private rental sector has not resulted in a drop in the quality of housing stock.
The English Housing Survey 2018-19, published in January, shows an increase of approximately 100,000 households compared with the previous survey in 2017-2018.
However, despite the news that standards have not slipped, the PRS accounted for the highest proportion of non-decent homes, according to the survey.
A quarter of homes in the PRS did not meet the Decent Homes Standard, compared to 17 per cent of owner-occupied properties and 12 per cent of social rented homes.
The EHS also found that 14 per cent of PRS properties had Housing Health and Safety Rating System Category 1 hazards, which are deemed a serious and immediate risk to a person's health and safety.
That figure was too high, says, Cobbold but it is nonetheless a marked decrease on the 33 per cent of reported properties with Category 1 hazards reported in 2008.
Other factors to transform the sector in recent years include the increasingly diverse make-up of renters and the fact that tenants typically stay in the same property longer than before.
"A more varied private rental sector makeup, alongside people staying in rental homes for longer means expectations have risen, particularly when people are moving to renting from other sectors where there appear to be fewer issues with quality of housing" explains Cobbold.
"If homes are of a better standard in other sectors, this could discourage people from living in the private rental sector and be detrimental to the growth of the market" he says.