Sign on the dotted line? A new rental contract


The private rented sector has grown substantially over the past two decades. It is now home to 20 per cent of households (4.7 million). Many more people now expect to live in the private rented sector for longer; this includes 1.7 million households containing nearly 3 million children. Many of those children will grow up, go to school and transition into adulthood in homes rented from private landlords.

Yet the rules and regulations which underpin the private rented sector have not kept pace with this growth. This means that tenants face unaffordability, poor conditions, a lack of tenure security and limited control over the place they call home. Meanwhile, cuts to benefits and welfare reform, a slow court system and a lack of strategic policy mean that the structural foundations which are essential for a thriving sector are being eroded.

In this report IPPR sets out a programme of radical but necessary reform to the private rented sector which would address these challenges. In doing so, it has drawn on in-depth conversations with tenants and landlords across England. Through these it has sought to understand the lived experience of those in private renting and how they want it to change, testing with them ideas for reform.

Polling commissioned by IPPR through Sky Data as part of our research reveals significant public support for reform of the sector. As renters, and those concerned about the sector and its impacts, grow as a political force it is clear that the programme of reform IPPR presents here would not just ensure that the sector was more just: it would be hugely popular with tenants and the wider public, too.

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