Rents up 9% across UK

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics released their analysis of rents in the UK, and the results are shocking but not surprising to renters. It shows that rents have increased 9% nationally over last year, with average rents now £1,276pcm in England, £723pcm in Wales and £944 in Scotland, while average rent data was not released for Northern Ireland.

Rent increases are nothing new to tenants, but we’ve been feeling the impact of sky-high rents and unaffordable rent increases more acutely since the end of covid related restrictions in 2021. Then, the rent rises could be attributed to a surge in demand of people returning to rented homes. However, rents have continued to skyrocket in the years since and renters are being stretched to the very limit of what we can afford to pay. This situation cannot go on.

It is clear that rents are too high, and they have been for a long time. The government must act to bring rents back down to levels that renters can realistically afford.

As the cost of living crisis apparently eases and inflation slows down, the cost of renting crisis is continuing at pace. 9% increases in a year across all tenancies is well above the rate our wages are rising, illustrating how badly renters are protected.

This is not just down to landlords’ costs going up – more than half of privately rented homes have no mortgage attached to them – so clearly landlords and letting agents are raising the rent just because their tenants have no choice but to pay these prices. With social housing waiting lists as long as they are and house prices blocking people from owning their own home, many of us are stuck privately renting and we are being exploited because of it.

The government needs to listen to renters and take decisive action to slam the brakes on soaring rents in the worst-hit areas. Outlawing unaffordable rent rises would give renters much-needed breathing space and must be considered either by Westminster or by devolving powers to regional authorities. Meanwhile, the government must get to work building many more affordable and social homes to address the shortage of homes that underpins this affordability crisis.


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