Social Housing vs Private Renting, what should I choose? We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of both and help you decide which is best for you.

Social Housing vs Private Renting, what is the difference?

Social homes are provided by housing associations or a local council. As a social tenant, you rent your home from the housing association or council, who are your landlord.

Social housing can also be referred to as council housing. These types of homes are slightly different in terms of the type of tenancy agreement and the rights you have to property as a result. You can read more about council housing vs housing association in our blog.

Social housing’s main priority is to be more affordable than private renting. It usually provides a more secure, long-term tenancy.

Private renting is rented accommodation occupied by market renters. They live in the properties under a tenancy agreement, whilst paying market rent prices.

There can be many advantages and disadvantages with both social and private rentals, which we will explore within this piece.

Advantages of private renting

Private landlords are more likely to have a quicker process as it just needs to go through them rather than an agent/housing provider. If you are time conscious then renting from a private landlord may be the best choice.  

If you have a bad credit score this can be seen by letting agents when they run credit checks. However, private landlords do not tend to run these credit checks and so you should be able to rent easier with bad credit.

Disadvantages of renting privately

There can be high upfront costs when you are renting privately. These can include expensive deposits and upfront fees to secure the property. This is not usually the case with social housing as you do not need any upfront fees to secure them.

Another disadvantage with renting privately is that many properties are in poor condition and tenancy agreements don’t offer long-term security. This means if anything was to happen to the property, you wouldn’t be offered an alternative by the landlord. Private landlords can often just give you 30 days notice to vacate a property, which can be a very stressful situation if you were to find yourself in it 

Another disadvantage is that rent is set at unaffordable levels and can be higher than market rate. There is no type of regulator or guidelines that a private landlord has to cap their rent at, so this can lead to unaffordable rents 

Advantages of social renting

Renting from a housing association or council means rent can be a lot cheaper.

Council houses tend to be cheaper to rent than Housing Association properties on average as housing associations tend to set their rents at either social or affordable rates which class as;

  • social rent – around 50% of local market rent
  • affordable rent – around 80% of local market rent

You tend to have more security- Renting from a council or housing association tends to give you more security as you have more tenancy rights and usually a longer tenancy.

Sometimes housing providers offer home swaps with other housing association/council tenants. This may mean that if initially you haven’t been given a home in your ideal area or with the amount of bedrooms you need, you may be able to swap with someone at a later date.

Disadvantages of social renting

One of the main disadvantages of renting from a HA or council is that you don’t get flexibility with the area. As the main focus is to house you affordably and safely, you do not have much of a choice in area. This can obviously be a negative as you may be placed in an area you are unfamiliar with, are far away from family/friends or do not particularly like.

Another disadvantage is that sometimes it may be hard to get onto their housing. This would mean that you may be waiting a while for a property. This may be a problem if you are in a bit of a rush to move somewhere.

Social Housing vs Private Renting, which is better for me?

This is something which is completely up to you. You need to decide whether you would rather have flexibility over the area or if affordability is more important.