English Housing Survey

The English Housing Survey (EHS) is a major government survey into homes and housing in England.
Image of a woman walking past a block of flats
  • Authors:
    Victoria Ratti
    Melanie Doyle Helena Wilson
    Anamaria Popa
    Charlie Ridley-Johnson
    Monica Bennett
    Joanna White
    Olivia Cottis-Black
    Amy Dyer
    Joseph Cant
  • Publishing date:
    13 July 2023

You can read the latest reports for 2021-22 and reports going back to 2009 on the GOV.UK website. The English Housing Survey (EHS) is commissioned by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

About the study

The English Housing Survey (EHS) is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England. It is one of the longest standing government surveys and was first run in 1967. The 2021 report explores topics such as housing costs and affordability, buying aspirations, overcrowding and under-occupation, energy efficiency, safety and decency of housing in the private and social rented sectors, second homes, household moves, complaints and satisfaction with current housing and leaseholders housing.

Key findings from the latest reports

Private rented sector:

  • Private renters spend a higher proportion of their household income on rent compared to those in other tenures – 33% of their income went on rent, compared to 27% for social renters and 22% for mortgagors.
  • While nearly three quarters (74%) of all private renting households said it was easy to pay rent, certain groups – those living in London, those receiving housing support, those in part time work, and those with children in particular – found it more difficult.

Social rented sector:

  • Social renters are less likely to expect to buy a home (27%) than private renters (62%). For both tenures, the main reason for not expecting to buy a home is not being able to afford it.
  • Social renters pay, on average, less rent per week than private renters (£106 per week compared to £209 per week), but are more likely to be in arrears or have been in arrears in the past year (18%) compared to private renters (7%).

Complaints and satisfaction with housing:

  • Households living in poor quality dwellings who considered making a complaint, were less likely to do so.
  • 15% of social renters and 25% of private renters who considered making a complaint decided not to complain, but the proportions increased to 26% and 30% respectively for renters living in non-decent homes.
  • The majority of social (66%) and private renters (57%) were unhappy with how their complaint was responded to, but most of these decided not to escalate the complaint further (74% of social renters and 89% of private renters who were unhappy with the response).

The EHS is a large-scale complex survey with two stages: an interview in all selected homes and a visual inspection by a qualified surveyor of a subsample of homes. The EHS is conducted throughout the year across England. The sample is scientifically chosen to represent the wider English population. The EHS is currently carried out by a consortium of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Building Research Establishment (BRE) and CA Design Services (CADS).