The RLA has responded to a consultation that includes proposals to limit the scope and frequency of the English Housing Survey (EHS). The EHS is a vital source of housing information and statistics, especially for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) because it is the only independent source of PRS statistics and allows ready comparison between the PRS and other tenures.
Housing is an incredibly important topic, and within a sea of unverified and specially commissioned statistics, the English Housing Survey is an important source of independent information. The RLA is keen to ensure that the EHS, a credible and independent review of housing in the UK maintains its annual publication and continues to provide a wide range of data.
Some of the key statistics found within the most recent edition of the EHS, published today (Wednesday 25th February 2015) include:
- 19% (4.4 million) of households were renting privately, up from 18% in 2012-13 and 11% in 2003
- In 2013-14, there were 372,000 new households formed, of which 64% (240,000 households) were in the private rented sector.
- Overall, average weekly rents in the private rented sector increased from £153 to £176 between 2008-09 and 2013-14, an increase of 15%. In the social rented sector, average weekly rents increased over the same period from £71 to £94, an increase of 32.4%.
- The private rented sector had the highest proportion of non-decent homes (30%) in 2013 while the social rented sector had the lowest (15%). 19% of owner occupied homes failed to meet the decent homes standard in 2013.
- While there was a marked decrease in the proportion of private rented sector homes which were non-decent between 2006 and 2013 (from 47% to 30%), the absolute number of non-decent dwellings did not decrease due to the general increase in size of this sector.
- Between 1996 and 2013, the proportion of PRS households in energy bands F and G fell from 39% to 9%.
- 61% of private tenants (2.5 million households) and 25% of social tenants (970,000) stated that they expected to buy a property at some point in the future.
The EHS provides vital information and statistics that may otherwise be garnered through surveys and polls commissioned by self-interested parties, or costly and time consuming Freedom of Information requests which sometimes cannot be fully answered. The RLA would rather see the survey increased in scope.