Housing Supply and Rents Research

PRS is vital part of housing market

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The PRS is providing homes to a fifth of the population and nearly 2 million families with children, today’s English Housing Survey finds – sparking calls for more support for private landlords.

The latest figures show that the private rented sector remains larger than the social rented sector, accounting for some 4.7 million households, and is now the most prevalent tenure in London.

Having more than doubled in size since 2002, the sector is increasingly relied upon to house families and older households.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said: “Today’s findings reiterate the importance of the private rented sector for families across the country.

“Larger than the social sector, and housing more families with children, the private rented sector provides much needed housing for nearly five million households.

“The Government needs to recognise its vital role in the housing market and implement pro- growth tax and planning policies to support the majority of landlords who are individuals to meet ever growing demand for rented housing.”

Over the last decade, the number of families with children in private rented housing increased by nearly a million to represent 38 per cent of all households in the sector.

This compares to 35 per cent in social housing. The proportion of those aged 35-44 has also substantially increased over this period to over a quarter.

For more detailed analysis by the RLA’s senior researcher, Tom Simcock click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • Did David Smith really say five million people? The latest average occupancy rate I saw was 2.3, so the 4.7m PRS properties in England accommodate more than ten million people.

  • If private landlords provide such a much needed service as well as improving slum areas through upgrading of these houses why is the government so focused on crushing us with their increasingly screw them attitude. The next house I buy will get the minimum uplift required instead of the lovely homes created to date for our lovely tenants who have remained long term.

  • A good start would be to revisit the changes to mortgage and loan interest putting the PRS on the samew footing as other businesses and maybe new regs to ensure rogue landlords are eased out.

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