Research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that there was no difference in rents in the private rented sector paid by jobless households compared to the those paid by low income households in work. The principle finding was that the great majority of low income working households live in accommodation of the ‘right’ size, in terms of the number of bedrooms, or larger than those that would be deemed appropriate under Housing Benefit regulations.
Families were in the private rented sector for a number of different reasons and had different expectations, intentions and ambitions for the future. Their current living conditions and general circumstances also varied widely. Given this diversity, it is apparent that the private rented sector is performing a number of different and important roles for low income working households. It would therefore be inappropriate to regard private renting purely as a residual sector.
The report reveals a wide diversity among households. Even within the fairly narrowly defined group of ‘families with dependent children’ there was diversity in terms of household size and composition, and ethnicity. Some families were poor and some less so; some had better prospects than others of becoming less poor in future.
Families were in the rented sector for a number of different reasons and had different expectations, intentions and ambitions for the future. Their current living conditions and general circumstances also varied widely.
Further differences include the finding that 91 per cent of Housing Benefit claimants are White compared to 72 per cent of those categorized as low income households. 47 per cent of benefit claimants had no formal educational qualifications at all, compared with less than ten per cent of low income households.
LOW INCOME WORKING HOUSEHOLDS IN THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR is available from DWP