When Home is not where the Heart is for Renters

By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent 

Four in ten renters say they don’t see the place they currently live in as a proper home, according to a new survey, with eight in ten saying they felt they had ‘no choice’ when it came to whether to rent or buy.

It is a common conundrum for Londoners. With average property prices now above the half a million mark many of us are left with the bleak reality of ‘generation rent’, which has its constraints. The study of 2,000 Brits, commissioned by L&Q,  found that those living in rented accommodation felt unable to put their own touches on the property or decorate it as they’d like, with the majority of us still calling ‘home’ the house where mum and dad are.

Cathy Lloyd, Sales Director at L&Q comments: ‘’One of our most basic comforts is that sense of home and it seems for many of us that will always be strongly tied to our mums and dads or the place we grew up in.

‘’However the results show a large number of people don’t see the place where they currently live as a home but rather a place where they sleep and live.

‘’They say that an Englishman’s home is his castle, so it is therefore no surprise that many who rent don’t feel at home. There is more to creating a home than just the building as the results show- the life and experience we go through inside a property plays a big part in our feelings of homeliness.

‘’With the average first time buyer deposit now standing at £26,134, it is more important than ever to support buyers onto the property ladder and increase awareness of initiatives like Shared Ownership.”

Among the factors that make a house feel like a real home were putting up lots of family photographs, unpacking the very last box and buying new furniture for the property. While getting excited at the thought of returning to the house after a holiday was also a sure sign of a true home. And just a third of those studied considered themselves ‘house proud’ or caring about their current residence.

Experiencing your first Christmas in a property was deemed essential to considering that place a home, results showed.

Being somewhere for all four seasons was likely to raise that feeling of homeliness, while a good top-to-bottom clean of a place really makes it feel yours it emerged.

Planting your own things in the garden was likely to raise a real fondness for a property, while finding a good pub nearby was deemed crucial by many a Brit to getting that sense of home.

Results also showed it takes one year and four months for a house to really feel like a proper home on average.

A territorial seven in ten believe a property can only feel like a home once all traces of the people who lived there before are removed.

And that includes the hassle of receiving mail addressed to former tenants with over half the study feeling a place is well and truly their home once letters to previous owners stop coming through.

The biggest problem for renters was not feeling a home was really theirs or the worry they could soon be asked to leave. While a fifth were living with broken or damaged goods that the owners hadn’t replaced and many either didn’t like their landlord or had experienced fallouts in the past.

Cathy Lloyd added ‘Young people in the UK still aspire to owning their own property, but often stumble at the first hurdle of not being able to afford the deposit. When purchasing a share of the property however, buyers only need a fraction of the cash deposit compared to the open market.

‘’With nearly 3.9 million of Brits now paying monthly rents, Shared Ownership is an affordable route to home ownership for those earning from £25,000 per year.”

To help more first time buyers onto the property ladder, L&Q launched their PricedIn campaign. Designed to raise awareness of Shared Ownership and its benefits, the organisation has helped over 300 first time buyers in the last year alone to purchase their first home.


1.         When you own it yourself

2.         When you’re able to decorate the property

3.         When you first get the keys

4.         When you buy all the furniture

5.         When you unpack the last box

6.         When you put photographs up of you and your family

7.         When you receive letters through the post

8.         When you go on holiday and you’re excited to get back to the house

9.         When you remember the address by heart

10.       After all your friends and family have been round to visit

11.       When you have your first child

12.       When you get a pet

13.       When you get married

14.       When you phone up companies to say you’ve changed address

15.       When you send out ‘New Home’ letters to you friends and family

16.       When the Wi-Fi is installed

17.       When your partner moves in

18.       When you meet your neighbours

19.       When you stop taking the wrong turning to your old home

20.       When you get your TV set up


1.         Enjoying your first Christmas in the house

2.         Putting in all your furniture

3.         Experiencing all four seasons in the house

4.         A top to bottom clean of the entire property

5.         Planting your own things in the garden

6.         Having a birthday

7.         Being on first name terms with your neighbours

8.         Returning from holiday

9.         Having children enrolled in the local school

10.       Finding a local pub

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