Poverty and housing in the private rented sector

High housing costs both cause and worsen poverty in England. For households living in poverty in the private rented sector, social rent could make a real difference.

8 February 2019

In this briefing we outline the key findings from our analysis that shows the positive impact that social rent could make to households in relative poverty after housing costs who are paying a market rent in the private rented sector. This includes:

  • leaving an estimated 842,351 (71%) households in poverty better off
  • lifting 315,047 households and 828,595 people out of relative poverty including 139,138 households with one or more children (equating to around 242,753 children)
  • saving Housing Benefit payments to 502,012 households, with an estimated saving of around £50.50 households per week or an estimated collective saving of £1,783,074,042.

Background to relative poverty after housing costs in England

  • In England, just under a fifth (18% or 4,202,791) of households are in relative poverty after housing costs, including 1,599,197 households who are in poverty as a result of their housing costs.
  • The difference between poverty before housing costs and after housing costs is particularly marked in the private rented sector. Over half (53%, 775,773 households) of those in poverty in the private rented sector were not in poverty before paying their rent.
  • Households with children experience higher rates of poverty after housing costs across all tenures. 1,834,837 (28%) of households with one or more children, and 3,585,528 children (31%), are in poverty after housing costs are paid.
  • Over the past decade the number of households with children living in the private rented sector has also grown disproportionately, rising from less than a million households in 2008/9 to 1,618,075 (2,840,681 children) by 2015/16.
  • In the private rented sector, 44% of households with one or more children are in poverty after their rent is paid. A quarter (26%) of households are in poverty as a direct result of their housing costs. A third (33%) of households with children are living in poverty even though one or more adults in the household work full time.

Download the full report (pdf)