Monday 11 November 2019 4:05 am

DEBATE: Are there any benefits to the rise of renting?

Anne-Marie Brown is founder and chief executive of Love to Rent.
and Paula Higgins
Paula Higgins is chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance.

Are there any benefits to the rise of renting?

Anne-Marie Brown, founder and chief executive of Love to Rent, says YES.

While the UK has traditionally been a nation of homeownership, more people are choosing to rent, and the profile of renters is changing too, with more families and retirees looking for a stress-free alternative. As a result, the market is improving.

Rental options have been evolving in response to this changing demand, with a real focus on build-to-rent developments, which deliver modern homes with professional management and high-quality services by reputable landlords. This shift is encouraging. For many, renting is a lifestyle choice, not a necessity — they value flexibility and the option to live in a high-quality development in a central location.

The increase in renting has also put more pressure on the government to improve conditions for renters. In the UK, we are far behind our European counterparts such as Germany, which provide lifelong tenancies and protections against over-inflated rent increases. Evictions are pretty much unheard of.

The rise of renting in the UK can help drive better living conditions and more choice and competition in the market.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, says NO.

The facts speak for themselves. Our annual survey tells us that of the 4.5m UK households renting, over three quarters — almost 3.5m — want to own their home.

And why is that? Renters report a raft of problems, from poorly maintained and damp properties, to unreasonable rent increases and the lack of security due to short-term leases.

In contrast, there are many advantages to owning your own home — if you are lucky enough to be able to afford it. Being a homeowner gives you the ultimate freedom. You can make improvements as you wish, you can control your costs more easily, and it can be cheaper — especially with low interest rates.

Families, especially children, also fare better, as ownership provides continuity because they may not need to move so frequently. And pensioners are far less likely to suffer poverty in old age if they have built up the safety net of owning their home, rather than paying rent to someone else.

Flexibility may be valuable for some, but most would prefer stability.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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