This article examines the special role of the private rented sector in the provision of housing in London. The proportion of households who rent privately continues to be much higher in the capital than in the rest of the country. The reasons for this are analysed, together with the type of households that are found in the sector in London, and the sort of accommodation they obtain. The conclusion is reached that while the operation of the sector in London does differ in some important ways from the rest of the country, the major difference is simply its greater size in London. A forecast is then made of future trends. Finally, the likely effects of different policy options on those already in, and those seeking to enter the sector, are assessed.
* The authors wish to thank the Nuffield Foundation and the Greater London Council for financial assistance, and Catherine Starrett who provided statistical analysis.
† Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, London School of Economics.
‡ Research Associate, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.