The boom that the private rented sector has enjoyed in recent years has hardly been a well-guarded secret, and now the census has revealed the extent to which the industry grew between 2001 and 2011.

Researchers from Savills analysed the results of the national survey and found that the number of private rented households across England and Wales increased by almost two thirds in the ten-year period, jumping from 2.6 million to 4.2 million.

Analysts claim that the data suggests privately rented homes now account for an estimated 18 per cent of the total number of households throughout the two countries, and the majority of these are highly concentrated in urban areas.

Indeed, statistics from Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol show that the number of privately rented homes across the five cities increased by 77 per cent, now making up 23 per cent of all households in these areas.

London was found to have the most prominent rental market, with 26 per cent of all homes belonging to the private rented sector.

With house prices in some of the capital's boroughs increasing by more than 100 per cent over the ten-year period, it is unsurprising to see that more residents have been forced to rent in order to find a home.

What's more, director of residential research at Savills, Lucian Cook, highlighted the growing trend in the city for under-35s to share tenancies due to the extensive cost of renting in London.

"[In the capital] the bulk of under 35s are priced out of the rental market unless they share with other young professionals," he said.

Given the extent to which the private rented sector has grown in England and Wales, investors have a strong opportunity to take advantage of the continued demand for properties among tenants.

And if they are to protect their assets appropriately, landlord insurance policies will be vital to safeguarding their finances.