London renters see steepest rent increases since 2013

Private sector rents in London have increased by 3.2 per cent

Private sector rents in London have increased by 3.2 per cent - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Private sector tenants in London are facing the steepest increases to their rents seen in more than a year and a half, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

In London the annual rate of price growth 3.2 per cent, while across Britain private rental prices paid by tenants increased by 2.1 per cent in the 12 months to March, the ONS said. This is the fastest annual rate of increase recorded since August 2013.

The latest annual rate of change recorded means, for example, that someone renting a property for £500 a month in March 2014 would have seen the price they pay increase to £510.50 a month by March this year.

Ben Felfeli, director of C.H. Peppiatt who let properties mainly around Chalk Farm, Camden and Primrose Hill said: “Rents are definitely up from last year. We re-let properties that we let last year and landlords have been asking for increases this year.

“Renters are usually professionals, either young couples or sharers. We’ve seen demand increase because lending’s become harder to obtain so when people think about getting a mortgage to buy somewhere, the banks won’t lend.

“Often they’ve got great deposits but because they’re not earning enough or they’ve just started a new job they can’t get a mortgage.

“Also prices to buy have increased. Now you’re looking at around £550,000 for a one-bedroom flat compared to three years ago when it was more like £390,000.”

With a general election looming, concerns have been raised in recent weeks about a lack of homes for people to choose from generally pushing up costs both for people living in the rental sector and those trying to buy a property.

Figures from the English Housing Survey released in February showed that home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level in 29 years.

Earlier this week, a separate rental index compiled by estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains found that private sector rents have increased by more than £100 a month on average across England and Wales since the last general election.

The report said the cost of being a tenant has surged faster than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation, which has increased by 11.6 per cent over the five-year period.

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Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move, said the private rental sector is “carrying the weight of the housing crisis and that will mean faster rent rises in future if supply doesn’t keep up”.

He continued: “Without more homes every year to match a rising population, housing will inevitably become more expensive.”

“Over the next five years, politicians of all stripes can’t just hope that this problem will go away - Britain needs more homes.”