A majority of people renting in the UK say they will never be able to afford a home – although they would like to buy their own place, according to a new YouGov survey on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance

Almost 4 in 10 of those renting also say they are stuck in cold, damp properties with landlords unwilling to do basic repairs and maintenance.

The plight of those renting in 2019 in the UK is highlighted in a new YouGov survey on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance. More than three quarters (77%) of the 4.5 million households renting their homes in the UK would like to own their own home – that is 3.5 million aspiring property owners. But 2 million of them (59%) think they will never be able to.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults found those renting also face problems including:

  • Living in poor quality properties (35%);
  • Having a limited choice of rental properties (32%);
  • Concern their property does not meet safety/ fire standards (20%).

The research conducted ahead of this month’s ban on letting agent fees found almost half of renters (48%) supported an end to upfront charges. Meanwhile, more than a third said they would like:

  • To be able to rent from a responsible housing provider (40%);
  • To see high-quality safety and energy efficiency standards in their homes (38%);
  • The option of a longer tenancy (35%).

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “We have a crisis on our hands. A majority living in rented accommodation desperately want to buy a home of their own – yet most think this is a pipe dream. This shouldn’t be the case in the fifth strongest economy in the world.

“Not only that, but it is disgraceful that such high numbers of people living in rented accommodation are putting up with damp, cold properties and reluctant landlords who do not maintain their homes to the required standards. It has been incredibly unfair that such high charges have been put on those living in the rental sector and the Home Owners Alliance welcomes this overdue ban.

“Help to Buy continues to be a popular scheme despite fundamental leasehold problems, while features offered by Build to Rent developments are also attractive to consumers, including security of tenure. Shared ownership has also lost some of its shine.”

Kim Vernau, chief executive at BLP Insurance, added: “With no quick fix to the problems plaguing the housing market, a pragmatic approach that tackles issues from multiple directions is necessary. As potential first-time buyers continue to struggle to gain access to homeownership, it’s vital that real progress is made towards improving rental conditions.

“The continued momentum of the Build to Rent sector is encouraging as it has a crucial role to play, with numerous advantages for tenants, from cheaper access and longer tenancies to far greater accountability on the part of the housing provider, as opposed to private landlords.

“At the same time, freeing up housing stock for young families by incentivising elderly people to downsize from larger family homes remains a persistent challenge. The clear solution is to improve the quantity and quality of purposely built housing available to last-time buyers, which can also cater more appropriately to their needs later in life.”

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