Tenants facing an £800 increase in bills over the next year
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Tenants already struggling to pay spiralling energy, food and fuel bills could also be faced with an £800 hike in their rents this year, according to a rental platform.
Researchers from Ocasa have predicted that in 12 months, the average tenant in the UK will be paying £13,739 a year to rent a home, compared to £12,936 a year ago, prompting landlord organisations and letting agents to call for more Government help for the sector.
The east of England is expected to experience the third highest rents increase of any region in the UK, with an extra £898 being loaded on to annual bills.
Estate agents in Suffolk said a lack of supply was fuelling the increasing prices, as many landlords remove their homes from the market due to Government policies favouring tenants’ rights instead of incentivising landlords to provide good quality homes.
Tenants were also staying in their homes for longer- an average of 23 months in March, compared to 21 months in February- as the rising costs discouraged them from moving and reduced the pool of available properties.
Jason Scales, owner of Vikings Independent Estate Agents in Felixstowe, said landlords had been "squeezed" by Government taxation and more tenants’ rights which made it more difficult for landlords to evict them.
He added the problem was compounded by a lack of council or social housing, which meant tenants had to look privately.
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“We have had landlords in the last year who have decided to sell because they have had enough. The Government has got to make it more attractive to private landlords.
“They have just got to incentivise it. Most landlords are decent people, but if they are getting taxed to the hilt on it, they will decide to sell,” Mr Scales said.
He believed most tenants had decided that they were "just going to have to deal with" the rising costs, adding: “The bottom line is, somebody has to live somewhere so they do manage by and large and as long as employment is ok then they will pay the rent.”
Nathan Corrigan, senior lettings negotiator at Fenn Wright estate agents, said he had been seeing a lot of interest despite the rising rental costs.
He said: “It hasn’t really changed much. Rents are going up, don’t get me wrong, but I think that is just the times now. Gas and electric costs are all going up, but it is not going up in a way that is inadequate for tenants and they can’t find anywhere.
“We are getting lots and lots of enquiries for properties and they are going more quickly.”
Maxine Fothergill, President of ARLA Propertymark, which represents property agents, said: “The rising cost of living is having an effect across the entire housing sector and private sector renters are not going to be immune from that.
“Only recently, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has predicted interest rate rises will push up mortgage costs by £1,000 a year.
“The main driver of affordability is having a good supply of available properties, and we just don’t have that anywhere in the UK at the moment.
“Letting agents and the landlords they represent are a vital provider of homes for people up and down the country, but Governments across the UK have reform agendas that are leaning more towards tenants’ rights over incentivising those providing good quality homes to remain in the sector.
“After a decade of legislative and tax changes that have seen properties available to rent fall to historically low levels, we need to see policies that can also bring in new investment to help restore the balance between supply and demand as a long-term solution to affordability.”