Renting during the COVID-19 pandemic in Great Britain: the experiences of private tenants

The ongoing COVID-19 economic crisis continues to disproportionally affect historically disadvantaged groups, who are more likely to rent privately. Tenants entered the COVID-19 period employed in more precarious jobs and with fewer savings than homeowners. Many could hardly afford the added costs of homeworking and home-schooling. Stay-Home orders have also augmented the importance of a well provided neighbourhood and a truly comfortable home to peoples’ health and wellbeing. They have also brought under the spotlight home’s insecurities and vulnerabilities, which take a particular intensity in the private rental sector (PRS).

To inform policymaking, it is timely and relevant to understand private tenants’ renting experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this report examines the renting experiences of 60 private tenants in Great Britain; a related output focuses on their demands to the government. The study focuses on a particular subgroup of private renters, those who were engaged or interested in tenant activism, broadly understood, and who are therefore more vocal and active in enunciating their vision of the future.

This report first briefly examines participants’ histories of renting as they give a wider perspective on the state of the private rented sector while also framing participants’ ‘renting present’. Then it focuses on the COVID-19 period, presenting key findings related to property suitability (neighbourhood and dwelling), sense of home, raising feelings of social isolation and new affordability stressors.

The executive report of this report can be found here.

Two related blogs detail the key findings and the online method of a ‘written interview’:

A valuable methodological tool: the ‘online written interview’.

The experiences of private tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic in Great Britain.

Author: Adriana Mihaela Soaita


Full report


Date: May 28, 2021 1:53 pm


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