To anyone currently within the UK rental community it will probably come as no surprise that the rents in this country are considered some of the highest around. However, according to newspaper reports this week, UK tenants don’t just pay some of the highest rents but THE highest rents – of any other European country. For some this will come as no surprise but for most of us it’s a painful realisation that when that rental payment stings at the end of the month, it isn’t the same for everyone but just for us beleaguered Brits.
So how bad is it? Well research from the National Housing Federation (NHF) indicates that in the UK we’re spending a much big proportion of our monthly pay cheque on rent than our European counterparts. When you consider the comparison of average rents in the UK and Europe it’s hardly surprising – in the UK our average rent sits somewhere around £750 a month, whereas if you head out into Europe it’s almost half that at £400 a month. That’s a crazy difference in price for what is essentially the same thing. Do British tenants have better rights, more protection, landlords that are keen to do repairs and an absence of bad guys? No, as we all know we certainly do not! In fact, arguably we have less rights than those Europeans who are paying so much less but who have access to long term rent contracts and much more flexible arrangements.
David Orr, chief executive at the NHF has highlighted this strange situation where, in this country, we pay more and get less, “Not only do British renters face crippling rents, but they have almost no certainty about whether they will be able to stay in their home from one year to the next.” 43% of renters in Europe have been forced to move home in the past five years and that’s certainly not the same for the UK where almost 80% of the renting population has been on the move. You’ve probably had to move yourself – perhaps the landlord wouldn’t do repairs or the rent increase was too much for you to meet. Landlords have so much power in the UK that tenants find themselves constantly tossed out at the end of a year’s contract, often for the less than admirable reason that a landlord wants to find a tenant who won’t complain about the decaying interiors or the temperamental boiler.
And what do we pay for the privilege of constantly being on the move and having so much less power than the landlords do? 40% of our monthly pay cheques, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF) research. The European average is just 28% and if you’re lucky enough to live in Germany then this drops to just 25%.
What with rogue landlords, sky high rents and poor maintenance standards in the industry, renters in the UK are a persecuted group. However, The Tenant’s Voice is here to campaign to make the industry a better place – join our community today and help put tenant rights on the map.