Private rents in Britain are increasing to the fastest rate on record, intensifying the pressure on struggling households amid an acute cost-of-living crisis.
Outside of London, the average advertised rent is 9.9 per cent more expensive than a year ago as tenants jostle in the post-pandemic property market, according to data from wensite Rightmove.
And in London, rents are have soared to a new record high – and are now loftier than before the start of the pandemic as employees gradually return to the workplace and foreign students seek out places to live.
The average rent in the capital is now an eye-watering £2,142 per month, compared with £1,068 outside London.
Rightmove suggests the hikes are caused by demand far outstripping supply, highlighting the tenants’ pool has increased by 32 per cent year on year – while the stock of available properties has plummeted by 51 per cent.
“The imbalance between high tenant demand and low rental stock is supporting asking rent rises, and has led to competition between tenants for the rental properties available nearly doubling compared to the same period last year,” a spokesperson said.
The company said rental “hotspots”, where rents increased up to 20 per cent in a year, include three coastal towns in Kent – Folkestone, Ramsgate and Chatham – as well as Bridgwater in Somerset and Ascot in Berkshire.
And they are predicting another hike of five per cent in average rents in 2022.
Overcharged billions in rent
Last month, it was revealed that tenants who rent private properties in London have been overcharged a staggering total of £25.4 billion between 2012 and 2020.
The average private renter in the capital paid £25,439 more than they should have when comparing rent inflation with average wage growth, according to figures collected by former Green Party co-leader Sian Berry.
If rent increases since 2011 had matched wage rises, London renters would have paid around £145 billion in rent between 2012 and 2020.
But there real total is close to £171 billion – a stark difference of £25.4 billion. In that period, average rent has spiralled from £1,286 per month to £1,623.
The study, which collates data from the Office for National Statistics as well as a City Hall-commissioned report on housing, reveals that the amount of rent being generated by private tenants peaked in 2016, when £20.86 billion was shelled out.
That year, Londoners were reportedly overcharged by £4.68 billion.
“As a private renter in London for nearly 25 years, I know the worry and insecurity renters feel from high rents. In fact, I have come close to having to leave London myself due to these pressures,” Berry said.
“£25 billion is an enormous amount to have paid above the odds to our landlords. In renters’ pockets it would have provided more security, the ability to save and far less worry during the pandemic.
“Being overcharged one or two hundred pounds a month each really builds up into a serious total.”