Publication of the latest England and Wales census figures painted an accurate picture of the UK housing market today and indeed how it has changed over the last decade.

The six per cent drop in home ownership (with a mortgage or loan) from 8.4 million to 7.6 million over the last decade and the simultaneous six per cent increase in those renting from a private landlord or letting agency revealed a real shift in the attitudes towards renting in the UK, with it no longer seen as just a step on the road to buying but a long term life choice for many.

But what does 2013 have in store for the UK rental market?

Lettings expert and hands-on landlord James Davis said: “2012 was another good year for UK landlords in general. Lack of access to mortgage financing kept first-time buyer levels low and demand for rental accommodation high.

“I suspect that 2013 will be the year when landlords seek quality rather than quantity when it comes to choosing tenants. Those who will look after their property, pay the rent on time and in full and be responsible renters are sure to be preferred by landlords, and I foresee full tenant referencing and rent guarantee agreements becoming the norm in 2013.

“As a landlord myself, what will I be doing in 2013? Well, as ever I’m keeping a firm eye on interest rates as they are only going to go one way – and sooner rather than later I suspect.

“If I was a tenant? With the level of competition in the marketplace at present, I would do everything within my power to present myself as the optimum tenant. Ensure a clean credit history and be present-able, genuine and responsible.

“I would build a relationship with the landlord based on trust and transparency and at all times.”