Number of middle-aged tenants doubles in a decade

New research has shown the number of 40-something Britons renting from private landlords has doubled in the last 10 years.

But a different survey has shown that disabled people trying to rent face a ‘nightmare’ shortage of suitable properties.

Rising prices

Data gathered for BBC News has revealed that many middle-aged workers have been forced into renting by rising UK house prices.

Experts believe a focus on young first-time buyers means that older tenants, many of whom have children, cannot get a foot on the housing ladder.

The report showed:

  • The proportion of 35 to 54-year-olds who live as private tenants has nearly doubled in 10 years since 2006-07, according to the Family Resources Survey by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Renting among all age groups is now more likely to be from a private landlord than from a council or housing association
  • A particular rise in renting among 45 to 50-year-olds sometimes comes as a result of death, debt or divorce
  • Single parents with children who rent are a major concern among debt charities

Social inequality

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Homeowners’ Alliance, said: “The danger of all this is the social inequality it will create between the haves – who are homeowners – and the have nots.”

Property analyst Richard Donnell highlighted the potential strain on the benefits system in 15 to 20 years when tenants find themselves having to pay rent in their retirement.

A recent report from the Resolution Foundation suggested that as many as a third of young people will never get the chance to own their own homes and will rent all their lives.

Dire shortage

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has released shock figures which show 93% of 8.5 million rental properties in the UK are not accessible for the disabled.

In an 18 month survey of the sector they found 365,000 disabled people living in rented accommodation unsuitable for their needs.

Unacceptable

Commission chairman David Isaac said: “Accommodation for disabled people in this country is not acceptable.  The lack of accessible housing stops disabled people from being able to live independently.”

Neil Heslop of the Leonard Cheshire disability charity added: “The report is a shocking indictment of how disabled people have largely been forgotten in the housing priorities of local and national government.”

Adapt

Spokesman for the Department of Housing, Communities & Local Government said the government is providing councils with almost £1 billion over the next two years to adapt properties for disabled people.

He added: “We expect landlords to adapt properties for tenants. We are clear they must not unreasonably withhold consent if they are asked to make changes to homes.”