If you feel as if you’re just losing too much of your hard earned cash to your landlord/agent then you will be pleased to know that you’re not alone. Last Saturday in London a demonstration took place that was intended to be a protest against the lack of affordable housing in the capital. The protest was aimed at London Mayor Boris Johnson, urging that City Hall take action to stop spiraling rents ‘ripping the heart’ out of London. The protest was also to demonstrate at the lack of social housing, with 70 London estates currently due for demolition and a serious shortage of council homes.
Around 5,000 people took part in the protest, which many believe will be the start of more demos like this as it becomes less and less affordable to live in London. Uniquely, the protest combined voices from private and public renting, those protesting at the lack of council housing, as well as private tenants who were there to represent the need for rent controls in the private sector.
As we reported earlier this month, one in four landlords are planning to increase their rents by around 3% in 2015, which is triple the rate of inflation in the UK. Another 13% of landlords were also planning to put rents up although not by 3% or more. In London, the average cost of renting a single room increased by about 4% over the past year – in 2013 the average room rent was £676 and in 2014 this had risen to £704. The average cost of a double room in a rented property across the UK as a whole rose 8% in the same time period, from £505 to £546 a month. If rents continue to rise in this way then in the very near future the UK is going to become almost completely unaffordable for many people. With getting on the housing ladder even more expensive, the question is what are we expected to do?
One of the major issues is that there simply isn’t enough housing to go around and the knock on effect of that is the rise in demand, which in turn allows landlords to push up rents. Demand for rental properties across the country rose 18% over a year and there are more and more tenants competing for each property. As many of those who have posted in our forums have unfortunately experienced, this can sometimes result in rents being extortionately high, tenant approval processes being unfairly drawn out and landlords not taking their responsibilities with respect to repair and maintenance seriously enough – there will be another tenant along in a minute.
At The Tenant’s Voice we intend to be a part of this new movement to make a better housing landscape for everyone in the UK. That’s why we take the trouble to individually vet letting agents, to encourage good agents to get involved in our community and to keep you updated on the latest issues. If we want a better housing sector given the current commercial landscape then it looks like we’re going to have to fight for it so join our community and lets’s make a start.