01 Explore

Private Rented Sector

What Is It?

The growth in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has become a key feature of the South Essex housing stock and a significant driver in the local housing market. Between 2001 and 2011, the South Essex PRS was up by 6.1% while owner occupation fell by 5.1%. Private renting has surpassed social renting and the trend is set to continue. Basildon and Thurrock were the only authorities to still have slightly higher levels of social rented housing compared to private rented.

A number of households have been meeting their affordable housing needs through this tenure as it has grown in scale, however, it has also become the tenure for frustrated “would be” home owners including families with children who cannot afford to buy and are not eligible for social housing. Rents have increased significantly across all South Essex local authorities and the widening gap between market rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is placing a serious strain on the lower middle income group who are not eligible for social housing but rely partly or wholly on Housing Benefit payments set by the LHA to meet their housing need. What will the 2021 Census reveal about the sector?

What Are We Doing?

The Housing Group continues to comment and submit evidence on changes to the PRS. For example to the Rugg Review, which was subsequently published in September 2018 (see link to full report below).

Key findings:

  • Current regulation of the sector is “confused and contradictory” and “failing at multiple levels”
  • Opportunities for linkage and simplification are being missed, with tenants and landlords unsure of their rights and responsibilities
  • Poor conditions are a problem at both ends of the market – 1 in 5 homes let at the top 20% of rents are non-decent, and 1 in 3 let at the bottom 20%. Conditions get worse the longer tenants are in their property, indicating that poor property management rather than old housing stock is the root cause
  • Changes to welfare reform are creating a ‘slum tenure’ at the bottom end of the market as more tenants are unable to afford to meet their current rent levels or find accommodation without the help of statutory or third sector agencies
  • Policy interventions – such as Build to Rent – are increasingly focused on helping higher and middle-income renters priced out of ownership, with little or no help for those on low incomes.
  • Of the households represented in the lower third income group, 38% live in the PRS. Requires fiscal / tax support for the 38% in this group.

Recommendations include: action to improve quality of the property through an MOT style system as a way to bring together and simplify existing regulation and help drive up property standards in rented homes. Introduction of a landlord register. Proposal to de-construct the silo approach to PRS and develop a clear overarching strategy.

The South Essex Housing Group will continue to review the latest evidence and proposed changes such as those outlined in the recent Levelling Up White Paper through their dedicated Private Sector Housing sub group (see below) to support both national and local strategies to improve the sector.

South Essex Private Sector Housing Sub Group

The sub group last met on 16 March 2022 and was represented by the five local authorities of South Essex and chaired by Alastair Pollock, Strategic Housing Coordinator for SEHG and EDG.

This most recent meeting discussed the next South Essex Landlords Forum in partnership with the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), now scheduled for 2023. Initial feedback on the recent tenant awareness video and tenant information pack (launched in June 2021). Plus An update by SETDAB on a new resource to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the private rented sector.

Minutes from previous sub group  meetings are listed below.  Topics include: update on the Ready for Rent Offer, plans for Selective Licensing schemes, Stock Condition Modelling, empty homes, commentary in response to The Evolving PRS (Rugg / Rhodes report) and updates on latest bidding and new legislation / consultation.

Sub group minutes / actions:


NRLA & South Essex Landlord Forum, 14 Dec, 2021

Further information about the event can found here:

Agenda and event details

Past events

NRLA & South Essex Landlord Forum 17 June 2021

Top 4 Challenges for Essex Landlords 13 Nov 2019

Key Links For Further Information

Evidence Review

Key issues arising from the South Essex evidence review.

The University of York’s PRS review and vulnerability report can be read here:

The South Essex Stock Modelling Report 2017

A number of local authorities within South Essex commissioned the British Research Establishment (BRE) to undertake a series of modelling exercises on their housing stock. – Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend-on-Sea. This current report provides a high level summary broken down by local authority and, for completion, including figures for Thurrock. The full report can be read below.

A recent presentation on future Housing Stock Modelling by BRE includes recent development in data gathering and analysis showing how it can be applied at individual dwelling level can be found here:

Links to South Essex local authority local housing strategies and related policies




To follow..

Castle Point

To follow..



Housing and homeless strategy https://www.rochford.gov.uk/housing/homeless-and-housing-strategy

Private housing pages with related contents is here https://www.rochford.gov.uk/housing/private-sector-housing


To follow..


To follow..

Current Sub Groups:

  • Evidence review
    Alastair Pollock, SEHG Strategy Coordinator
  • Private Rented Sector
    Tara Miller, Rochford BC
02 Further Information


Top 4 Challenges for Essex Landlords

View file
pdf | 3 MB


South Essex Stock Modelling Report

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pdf | 3 MB


Private Rented Sector – South Essex Evidence Review

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pdf | 804 KB
03 Latest Private Rented Sector News
A new ‘Ready to Rent’ video is launched by the South Essex Housing Group

A new ‘Ready to Rent’ video is launched by the South Essex Housing Group

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Top 4 Challenges for Essex Landlords

Top 4 Challenges for Essex Landlords

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St Chads Thurrock

St Chads Thurrock

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Housing Strategy Stakeholder Event

Housing Strategy Stakeholder Event

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CASE STUDY - Build to Rent

CASE STUDY – Build to Rent

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