Overcrowded private rentals double in 10 years

More than 283,000 households who rent privately are living in overcrowded conditions, according to Shelter analysis of the government’s English Housing Survey.

The housing charity claims that this number has doubled (an increase of 95 per cent, or 138,000 households) in the last ten years and increased by nine per cent (22,000 households) in the last year alone.

Other headline figures for 2018/19 include more than 4.5 million households rent their home from a private landlord, which works out as just over 11 million people – a rise of 48 per cent (1.49 million households) over the last ten years. Additionally, one in four families with children in England (24 per cent) now rent privately – 84 per cent more families than a decade ago.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “As the supply of new social homes grinds to a halt, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of people living in overcrowded private rentals. More and more families are crammed like sardines into homes that are too small for them because they can’t afford to rent anywhere bigger.  

“The odds are stacked against struggling families. What this country desperately needs is an alternative to private renting, which is why Shelter is urging the government to build a new generation of genuinely affordable social homes. These homes would finally give people the chance of a decent place to live where they can plan for their future.”

The English Housing Survey found that the average rent was £200 per week in the private rented sector, rising to £341 per week in London. The proportion of household incomes spent on private sector rents was 32.8 per cent in 2018-19, down from 32.9 per cent the year before and the lowest it has been since at least before 2010-11.