A survey of tenants who are renting homes has disclosed the extent of the crisis confronting the private rented sector (PRS) in the UK. Over three-quarters of the participants find themselves effectively confined to their present dwellings due to a significant scarcity of alternative rental properties.

The survey, commissioned by the estate agency HOP, which manages an extensive rental portfolio valued at over £245 million spanning Leeds, Bradford, and beyond, interviewed more than 600 tenants regarding their current situations and property aspirations.

Of the respondents, over 70% expressed a desire to ultimately possess their own homes. However, for three-quarters of this group, the lack of a sufficient deposit serves as a hindrance. Nevertheless, 64% are presently in the process of saving for a deposit, and 43% have aspirations of purchasing a property within the next five years.

The majority envisage purchasing a property in their 30s, with 41% indicating an age range of 32 to 39 as the time when they plan to step onto the property ladder. This is followed by 27% who anticipate achieving this milestone in their 40s.

Nonetheless, 71% of respondents affirmed their intention to remain in their current abodes for the foreseeable future, while 12% have already surpassed their initially planned tenure. This situation predominantly stems from the insufficient availability of alternative rental properties. Relocating could potentially entail changing jobs, and escalating rents introduce a financial risk associated with moving.

The survey also revealed that, for tenants in the process of selecting rental homes, factors such as location and price hold greater importance than the size or interior features of the property.

Luke Gidney, managing director from HOP, said: “Although it’s no secret that the majority of tenants currently renting properties would like to buy their own homes, our survey also revealed that a quarter are happy renting and have no desire to buy. Most said it was the fact they could move quickly if their circumstances changed, as well as not having to worry about repairs and maintenance, that made renting preferable to buying.

“However, many tenants are facing difficult choices and are resigned to the fact that moving to a new rental property can be a challenge due to the shortage of available homes in the PRS, which has driven rents up by approximately 10% in West Yorkshire in the past 12 months alone.

“Government figures show England’s PRS accounts for 4.6 million or 19% of households and that it has doubled in size since the early 2000s. This compares to 15.6 million, or 64% and 4 million, or 17%, for owner occupation and social housing respectively.

“At the moment though, huge numbers of landlords are selling investment properties, due to legislation, red tape and tax changes. We’re now in a position where demand for rental property is higher than it’s ever been and tenants are bearing the brunt of this, competing for available properties and having to pay record rents. It’s a horrible situation that’s only going to get worse unless action is taken to stem the landlord exodus.”

In recent weeks, HOP’s specialist investment division has agreed to more than £ 1.5 million worth of investment sales. The investment specialist offers both new and experienced residential property investors a complete turnkey service, as well as an exclusive investor club providing off-market investment opportunities. Following its recent success, HOP is now preparing to sell a further £ 5 million worth of off-market investment properties this summer.

Although some of this is accidental and single-unit landlords wanting to exit the market, it’s largely being purchased by professional landlords and overseas investors.

HOP, which has offices in Leeds city centre and Horsforth, manages an extensive lettings portfolio, spanning both professional rentals and student property, throughout Leeds, Bradford and beyond. In addition, the company provides residential sales and block management services. For further information about HOP visit hop-property.co.uk