A Year in Review: Our Top 20 Research Findings

by | Aug 6, 2018 | Blog post

It has been a year since we launched the RLA Private renting Evidence, Analysis & Research Lab (RLA PEARL). In this short time, we have achieved a lot, especially at a time when the political focus on the private rented sector is intensifying. Read further to find out our most interesting research findings of the past year.

Over the past 12 months since the launch of RLA PEARL, we have undertaken and commissioned a considerable amount of research projects. On the back of these findings, we have achieved over 100 mentions in the media (including the BBC, SkyNews and The Times), 47 references to the RLA in debates in parliament, submitted over 25 pieces of evidence to the government, MPs and parliament, and shared our research findings at over 9 conferences and events in the UK and across Europe. You can find a full review of the activities and impact of RLA PEARL in our first year here.

In this short amount of time we have published nine research reports on different policy areas affecting the private rented sector; from welfare reform and the roll-out of universal credit to the impact of tax reform on the supply of privately rented homes. These findings have then be used to ensure that MPs, Peers and Government can take account of the evidence in their policy-making.

Our research has contributed extensively to our understanding of the private rented sector already, such as around the growth of short-term lets across London and the UK. Where we found that there had been a 60% increase in the number of listings on Airbnb in London between 2016 and 2017, but, more importantly, there had been an 85% increase in the number of multi-listings (where the host has more than one property) between the same years. This growth has been driven by the Government’s tax changes and the restriction of Mortgage Interest Relief for residential lettings, with 1-in-3 landlords reporting they had moved due to the tax changes.

The impact of the tax reforms was also found in our quarterly survey report titled “The Impact of taxation reform on private landlords“, where we found that the changes would reduce the profitability of 70% of landlords, and 67% would increase the rents to mitigate the changes. These changes were also found to be driving landlord plans to sell properties, and we estimated that this could lead to a net loss of over 130,000 properties to rent in the next 12 months.

A research finding that has particular significance at the moment is that 63% of landlords would offer longer-term tenancies (3 years minimum) if there was tax relief. The Government is currently consulting on the barriers to longer-term tenancies and this forms part of the consultation. There is an opportunity for the sector to evolve and the Government could enable landlords to provide longer-term tenancies to those tenants that request them voluntarily (as not all tenants will want a 3-year tenancy) and provide a tax relief to encourage this behaviour while at the same time helping to minimise the financial risk for the landlord if things did break down in the tenancy.

These are just some of the areas that our research has touched upon, and each day this week we will be reviewing the evidence from our different work streams.

 

Have a look at our top 20 research findings in the infographic below:

Bringing together data on the Private Rented Sector

In addition to our internal research and the research projects we commission, we also produce two valuable resources. Firstly, the PEARL Rental Index, and the Private Renting Evidence Dashboard. Our aim with these resources is to enable anyone with interest in the private rented sector to identify and examine reliable information on the sector all in one place, from changes in rents to the number of homes being built.

The PEARL Rental Index

For the PEARL Rental Index, we bring together statistics and data from multiple sources, including the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK Finance, the Land Registry and others. This ensures that landlords, tenants and other stakeholders can find out everything they need to know about changes to rent levels, house prices, inflation, and buy-to-let mortgage activity right across the UK.

The Private Renting Evidence Dashboard

Our dashboard is slightly different, and the panels provide a more comprehensive collation of essential statistics on the sector, and more specifically the statistics that aren’t perhaps updated monthly. This is regularly updated when new statistics are released to enable everyone to get a better understanding of the data behind renting. For instance, did you know that there were just over 21,000 possession claims by Private Landlords in 2017 but over 81,000 possession claims by Social Landlords? Why don’t you have a look at the Private Renting Evidence Dashboard and see what else you might find out?