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New Rugg review will provide much needed insight into private rented sector

Posted on 29 March 2017

Thorough, independent review to deliver better information about this growing tenure

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With private renting under the spotlight more than ever before and the number of people living in this sector on the rise, more knowledge and understanding is urgently required. Therefore, the Nationwide Foundation is funding the University of York to conduct an in-depth review of the current state of the private rented sector in England.

The review will, by be an independent and objective analysis of the private rented sector in England, to establish broadly whether it responds adequately to the needs of its various tenants. It will particularly focus on:

  • a comprehensive analysis of the ‘state of play’
  • an assessment of the policy interventions currently impacting on the sector
  • proposing policy options which could contribute to more effective operation

This review will provide a comprehensive, credible and neutral overview of the state of the private rented sector in England and is expected to have impact on many organisations concerned with housing.

The Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York will carry out the work, which is being funded by the Nationwide Foundation. The work will be undertaken by Julie Rugg (pictured below) and David Rhodes, who were the authors of The Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential (informally known as the Rugg Review). This original work was carried out in 2008, yet since then the private rented sector has changed substantially. At that time, it was possible to state that the tenure was often overlooked, however now the private rented sector is regarded as a key element of the housing market.

Julie Rugg

Interested stakeholders and industry experts will be invited to submit evidence to the review in due course. The completed work is expected to be published in summer 2018.

In addition to the review, the Nationwide Foundation has also funded another separate piece of research to be carried out by the same academic team. This will assess the extent that the private rented sector meets the housing needs of vulnerable tenants. This will be published alongside the main review.

Helen Hayes MP, member of the APPG Housing and Planning says:

“The housing system is in crisis and we know that many of the tenants living in the private rented sector are struggling. It is clear to me that while recent changes to the private rented sector have been significant, particularly around its size and the wide-ranging circumstances of the tenants living in it, unfortunately these changes are not at all well understood. The 2008 Rugg Review work was extremely useful and well-regarded, so I warmly welcome this opportunity for it to be revisited, giving politicians and policymakers an up-to-date and robust picture. I expect this review of the sector to pave the way for meaningful policy changes and interventions.”

Leigh Pearce, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Foundation says:

“Our conversations with housing stakeholders have given us a very clear steer that a new Rugg Review is urgently needed to provide a comprehensive picture of the private rented sector, as there is little agreement about what is truly happening. We see that both landlords and tenants are demonised and we also know that tenants are now renting for longer. We see a sector that is providing homes for those who have been homeless, while at the same time, people are being made homeless from the sector. Therefore, we have funded Centre for Housing Policy because it is high time that a fresh analysis is undertaken by this eminent team. We want this work to enable service providers and policymakers to make good decisions based on comprehensive and up-to-date information.”

Dr Julie Rugg, Principal Investigator at the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York says:

“The last review showed that the private rented sector is made up of lots of different sub-markets, meeting different types of need. Since we completed the review, every one of those sub-markets has changed substantially. Without a better understanding of how the rented sector works, it’s unlikely that policy aimed at the sector will have the desired effect."


Notes to editors:

Media contacts

Natalie Tate
Communications, Policy and Public Affairs Manager
The Nationwide Foundation
07826 536858

Samantha Martin
Deputy Head of Media Relations
The University of York
01904 322029