Two and a half times more households are renting private accommodation in England than they were 20 years ago, say new figures. Experts at storage and removals specialists LOVESPACE believe the trend is only likely to increase amid the cost of living crisis currently gripping the UK.

In 2000, Statista.com shows there were two million households in private rented accommodation in England and by last year this figure had reached 4.43m – in statistics published just weeks ago. The number of social renter households is just under four million. Marriage and relationship breakdown, the appeal of maintenance-free rental contracts and the need for flexible accommodation continue to fuel the demand for private rented flats and homes, alongside an increasing population.

A spokesperson for LOVESPACE said: “Although we are seen as a nation of people striving to own their own home, the number of people opting to rent privately is rising, and has been doing so for the last two decades. There is nothing to say this upward trend is going to do anything other than increase further over the next five years.

“Factors to account for include the continued rise in housing costs amid the cost of living crisis, plus a trend to more remote working which accelerated during the pandemic. Many employers are looking to move North from the South or expand and the quality of rental homes and available amenities mean renting holds increasingly huge appeal.”

LOVESPACE says the costs of stamp duty and raising funds for a deposit also deter people from buying a house, along with rising house prices making it harder for people to get onto the property ladder. But it also says many people just enjoy the flexibility of renting through a landlord too – being able to move between or across cities and towns with ease, without being anchored to a specific postcode, and not having to pay if the boiler breaks down suddenly.

LOVESPACE has been operating for ten years and has seen demand increase across a full range of age, genders and ethnicity, reflecting the buoyant rental marketplace in all sectors. It recently launched new drive-up secure self storage units at a number of car parks in London, alongside a new UK-wide removals service. This is alongside its storage with collection and delivery service which can help renters move or make the most of their space at home.

LOVESPACE predicts privately rented properties that continue to offer compelling ‘baked in’ amenities such as a gym, concierge and appliances will remain hugely sought after, although it recognises many people still strive for the long term investment and security of owning their own home.