Private renting in London - the facts

Posted: 20/09/2012

Private renting in London has grown to new heights over the past 10 years however a massive 39% of private rented homes do not meet the decent homes standard and complaints against private landlords in the area have risen almost 50% since 2008.

Rents in London has risen a massive 9% on average since 2002 and research from Shelter also discovered that 35% of renters feel like they have been unfairly charged at some point by letting agents. But what can be done about this? Well, the London Assembly’s housing and regeneration committee is conducting a wide investigation of the London private rented sector to identify the problems and figure out what can be done about it. In the next few months, the London Assembly committee will hold three sessions to look at key issues of affordability and standards as well as tenants and landlord rights. Their main aim is to make sure everyone in the private rented sector can be assured of certain standards, both in terms of the treatment they can expect from landlords as well as the quality of the accommodation they rent.

Many lower income and some middle income earners have no other choice but to rent properties that are expensive, often substandard with unreasonable landlords. Many renters would much rather see their earnings go towards a mortgage than a landlord or would prefer the lower costs and security of social housing. The average first time buyer who has no financial assistance from parents would have to rent for 31 years in order to save enough money to buy their first home in London whilst spending an average of £300,000 on rent in the process.

A lot of lower income families who need council houses are being placed in private rented accommodation by councils due to the lack of available social housing. This circumstance has arisen due to the lack of social housing and the charges which have been brought about by the Localism Act. The boroughs of London are the most expensive to rent in England with the average rent for a two bedroom home costing over £1,360 a month, that’s almost two and a half time it will cost on average for the rest of the country! Add the rising cost of living including gas, electricity and transport fares which are well above inflation, its understandable why most families are struggling.

And while most people have good landlords, one London borough has stated it considers one in three of its landlords to be rogue who are subjecting tenants to poor standards and the threat of sudden eviction. A range of proposals will be looked at and the implications discussed in the hope that the private rented sector can be improved for the good of everyone.

Do you think the private rented sector will be significantly improved or is it too much of a mammoth task?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(0) Comments London, property, renting, rent, private rented sector, social housing, landlord, tenant

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