If you pay rent for your home, then you’re not alone. Lots of people are at the mercy of landlords and changing rent demands.
Recent figures show that one in six people in the UK live in property rented from private landlords. That’s a staggering 10 million men and women.
What’s going to happen next?
According to Knight Frank, a property company, this figure is set to rise. When you consider that this proportion has already doubled since the year 2000, that amounts to a huge increase in rented houses and flats across the country.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rise in private renting has picked up since the worldwide financial crisis took hold some six years ago. Remember the 90s? For much of that decade, households renting in the private sector bobbed around 8%. Today that statistic is 17%.
Of course, tough times mean that fewer people can afford to get on the housing ladder. But, since 2008, banks and building societies haven’t helped. They put the squeeze on mortgage lending, mostly granting home loans only to buyers with chunky deposits.
Then there was the abolition of rent controls mixed with a growth in buy-to-let mortgages – home loans designed to encourage potential landlords to buy properties and rent them out to boost their incomes.
Do rents differ across the country?
A separate survey, released at the end of January by listing site Gumtree, found that, outside London, there is a scramble for newly-available homes to rent. This is because the supply of properties outside the capital has, of late, not been very good.
Although there are more places to rent in London, it’s worth remembering that private rents in our capital city are almost double those in the rest of the UK.
Gumtree says landlords in London are typically demanding an eye-watering £1,211 a month for one-bedroom flats and £1,605 for two-bedroomed apartments. Compare that to the national average of £665 and it’s a massive difference, particularly if you are on a tight budget where every penny matters.
There’s more bad news. In some areas, rents have shot up. Sums asked for by landlords in Dundee rocketed by 13% in the last three months of 2013 in comparison to the same period a year earlier. In Swansea, they soared by 11%.
If renting is getting you down, it may be worth thinking about the fact that buying a house is going to get more expensive. Experts believe that house prices will go up this year by about 8%.