The findings showed that 48% of the private rental sector (PRS) is now made up of families, ahead of the number of young couples renting at 47%.
The figures represent a shift in demographics compared with research published by the NLA four years ago, which found that 53% of landlords reported young singles as their most common tenant, followed by young couples and families with children, both at 51%.
The NLA said the PRS now accounts for approximately five million households in the UK. Official government figures for the year 2014-15 also showed that the proportion of families in the sector had increased from 30% in 2004-5 to 37% in 2014-15.
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the NLA, said there was a ‘genuine contrast’ between the experience of renting shown in the research and the “prevailing housing culture in Britain that only views it as a stopgap”.
“There is a rogue element to private housing that ruins the experience for far too many people, but for the majority of the 11 million private renters, renting offers an inclusive and flexible option which works for them in their current circumstances,” said Lambert.
“Contrary to popular perception, there’s growing evidence that renting is no obstacle to putting down roots and calling somewhere home. The majority of landlords want good, stable, long-term tenancies, and these findings show that more and more are becoming receptive to helping families make a home in the private rented sector”.
Over three quarters of families who responded to the NLA survey said they were happy with the length of their tenancy and 77% considered their rented accommodation to be home.