Guidance

Rents, lettings and tenancies data: notes and definitions for local authorities and data analysts

How statistics on rents, lettings and tenancies are compiled, including information about what is shown by each table and discontinued tables.

Overview

This guidance is to be read in conjunction with the series on rents, lettings and tenancies which includes the latest statistical releases and sets of live tables.

Rent

Local authority rent levels

Information on how much local authorities charge for their properties is collected through the housing revenue account subsidy claim form up until April 2012. Following the move to housing revenue account self-financing, local authorities are no longer required to complete the subsidy claim form. To ensure that key data on rent levels and stock composition are still collected, the local authority housing statistics (LAHS) return captures this information for the first time in 2011 to 2012. This provides an overlap in the local authority rent data collected.

The following tables are based on information collected from local authorities from the housing revenue account second subsidy claim form and the LAHS form:

  • table 701 gives the average rents by regions for local authority housing
  • table 702 gives the average rents by local authority district for local authority housing
  • chart 705 shows the rent increases for the UK as a whole separating with the rate above the retail prices index separately identified

Private registered provider rent levels

Data on the cost of renting private registered provider (PRP) (housing association) properties comes from the statistical data return (SDR) managed by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). This replaced the regulatory and statistical return (RSR) managed by the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) when the HCA took over responsibility for the regulation of social housing providers in England from the TSA on 1 April 2012. The SDR is an annual return that has to be completed by all PRPs, although smaller providers have a shorter form to complete.

The SDR captures a wide variety of information from each PRP about all properties they own. More information about the SDR is available on the HCA website.

Live table 704 gives the average rents by district for all PRP lettings based on the SDR (and its predecessor, RSR).

The continuous recording system

The continuous recording of lettings and sales in social housing in England (referred to as CORE) collects rents charged for newly let PRP and local authority properties. CORE is a national information source that records information on the characteristics of both housing association and local authority new social housing tenants and the homes they rent and buy. CORE provides an invaluable source of information about new lets, sales and tenants, for example:

  • household characteristics
  • economic status
  • ethnicity
  • primary reason for housing
  • source of referral
  • previous tenure of occupant

In addition, since information regarding housing costs is also recorded, broad assessments of housing affordability are also possible through CORE.

Up until April 2004 only PRP lettings and sales were covered by CORE. After that date coverage was extended to include lettings of local authority (council) housing. CORE covers all new tenancy agreements, including tenants who are new to the sector and tenants who are moving properties either within or between registered providers. CORE also captures information about the types of tenancy agreements and previous tenure of the new tenants. As of April 2009 TNS Research International is responsible for managing CORE.

The main difference between CORE, the SDR and the LAHS return is that CORE captures information on the rents paid for new tenancies only, whereas the SDR and LAHS cover all properties including new and existing tenancies.

Private sector rent levels

Private sector (free market) rent levels are available at regional level only. The source for this information is the English housing survey. The English housing survey started in April 2008, by merging the former English house condition survey with the survey of English housing.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) publishes statistics on the private rental market for England. They provide mean (average), median, lower quartile, and upper quartile gross monthly rent paid (ignoring any adjustment for services not eligible for housing benefit), for a number of bedroom/room categories for each local authority in England.

The VOA rent officers work within the private rented sector in England, providing valuation services for local authorities, landlords and tenants. Their main statutory functions are to:

  • determine and publish monthly local housing allowance (LHA) rates for every local authority in England: LHA applies to those private sector tenants who make a new claim for housing benefit or have changed address on or after 7 April 2008; rent officers publish 152 sets of LHA rates every month
  • provide local reference rent scheme Housing Benefit determinations to local authorities: people who have been claiming housing benefit before 7 April 2008 continue to receive the benefit based on a range of valuations provided to local authorities by the rent officer
  • provide ‘fair rent’ registrations: rent officers can register a fair rent for most private sector tenancies which started before 15 January 1989 under the Rent Act 1977; they can also register a fair rent under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976; a fair rent is the maximum rent that can be charged for the tenancy

Lettings and tenancies in the social sector

Local authority lettings data includes information on:

  • the housing register (waiting lists)
  • choice-based lettings scheme
  • nominations
  • mobility schemes

Until 2010 to 2011, these were collected annually from the housing strategy statistical appendix (HSSA) return. From 2011 to 2012, they are collected annually from the LAHS return. The latest copy of this return and the full range of data that we collect can be found in the local authority housing data series.

The following live tables contain information on general needs social lettings made by PRPs and local authority landlords collected by CORE:

  • table 750: by household type
  • table 751: by age of gender of household reference person
  • table 752: by economic status of household reference person
  • table 753: by ethnic origin of household reference person
  • table 754: by nationality of household reference person

Discontinued tables

Since the discontinuation of the survey of English housing and the English house condition survey in 2008, some housing statistics live tables are no longer being updated.

When these 2 former surveys merged to form the English housing survey, a number of methodological changes were introduced, particularly in relation to the derivation of rents. This means that a direct comparison of English housing survey and survey of English housing data is not always possible. Details of these changes can be found in appendix C of the English housing survey household report 2008 to 2009.

As a result, the following tables have been archived and are available upon request from housing.statistics@communities.gsi.gov.uk:

  • table 706: rent appeals and outcomes, England, London, Rest of England, Wales
  • table 711: registered fair rents, England, Wales, London
  • table 712: registered fair rents, England, Wales, London (quarterly)
  • table 713: rent determinations by rent officers in Housing Benefit cases England, London, Rest of England, Wales
  • table 714: rent determinations by rent officers in Housing Benefit cases, England, London, Rest of England, Wales (quarterly)
  • table 715: rents and rent types, by tenure and region, from 1994
  • table 718: household units receiving Housing Benefit, average benefit, from 1992
  • table 731: private tenancies and rents, by type of tenancy
  • chart 732: private and local authority rents and tenancies, by tenancy type, latest 2 years comparison (chart)
  • chart 733: private tenancies by tenancy type (chart)
  • table 734: private rents, by tenancy type and region
  • table 740: private sector rent index (Q2 2000=100)

Statistics relating to the private rental market can be found on the VOA website.

The following tables relating to rent paid before deduction of Housing Benefit have also been discontinued:

  • table 735: by tenure and age of head of household reference person
  • table 736: by tenure and age of head of household reference person
  • table 737: by tenure and disposable income of household reference person and partner

Statistics on housing benefit can be found on the Department for Work and Pensions website.

As set out in the written ministerial statement on 18 September 2012, the Department for Communities and Local Government no longer publishes statistics at a regional level. This follows the abolition of regional government by the Coalition who do not believe that regions provide a coherent or meaningful framework for assessing public policy. Instead, our published statistics present, where relevant, other sub-national geographies which are more aligned with public policy. If required, the published data by local authority can be used to compile figures relating to the old regional government boundaries by users.

As a result, the following tables are no longer being updated:

  • table 601 gives the number of local authority lettings, covering:
    • new lettings to homeless and other households
    • exchanges and transfers
    • secure and non-secure tenancies
  • table 703 gives PRP average weekly rents, by region

Contact

Email: housing.statistics@communities.gsi.gov.uk

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