According to information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), people in their mid-30s to mid-40s are three times more likely to be renting than those in the same age group were 20 years ago.
Of these middle-aged renters, a third were renting privately in 2017, up from just one in ten in 1997.
UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand points out that this is a concern that these people are “trapped” in the rental sector.
Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director of Housing Hand, says: “We’re seeing the age of the average renter change as it becomes harder to get onto the housing ladder. There’s been a marked change in the number of those renting later into life over the past two decades. What does this mean for those renters as they get older?
“At the same time, the number of young people who own their own home is dropping, so the number of older renters will continue to swell.”
Figures from the ONS show that half of people in their mid-30s to mid40s had a mortgage in 2017. This is down from two thirds back in 1997. Housing Hand highlights that with the rise of freelancing in the UK, it’s easy to see why there’s a growing demand for rent guarantor services.
Robinson continues: “For many working professionals, the nature of their work has shifted from fulltime employment to freelancing. Private landlords may shy away from freelancers due to the potential instability of their income or else ask them to pay several months’ worth of rent upfront.
“Rent guarantor services exist to help the tenant avoid such an onerous condition while also providing the landlord with the assurance they are seeking in terms of the rent being paid on time.”
Now that Christopher Pincher has replaced Esther McVey as the new Housing Minister as part of the February 2020 Cabinet reshuffle, we could see improvements finally made to the difficulties faced by middle-aged and older renters.
However, not one of the other 18 Housing Ministers appointed in the last couple of decades has had the time to fully understand, consult, implement changes and then monitor their effects fully.
Robinson concludes: “The housing market is incredibly complex. Without sufficient time to analyse and understand its complexities, Housing Ministers are forced to make knee-jerk, headline-hitting decisions, which they then don’t take ownership of because they’re usually replaced by the time their ideas have been fully implemented.
“It’s unlikely that a long-term solution to the increase in the number of middle-aged and older renters will be found under such conditions.”
Housing Hand also believes that it is not necessarily in the government’s interest to move people out of the private rental sector. Some of the tenants that have worked with the guarantor service are paying as much as 70% of their income on rent. In some circumstances over 40% of that rent goes to the government as tax.