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Renting in the private sector becomes more affordable

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Amidst widespread reports that the shortage of private rental accommodation is pushing up rents, recent studies show that renting is, in fact, becoming more affordable for the average tenant. And the majority are paying no more in rent than the last time they renewed their tenancy.

On the 1st of February, Landlord Today cited figures from the latest English Housing Survey indicating that tenants paid an average of 32.9% of their income on rent in 2017 to 2018, compared to 34.3% in the previous year, and 36.4% in the year before that.

Lending further weight to the argument that rents are becoming more affordable, the government published its Private Landlord Survey for 2018 in January. This revealed that seven out of ten private sector landlords imposed no rent increase when renewing the tenancy of an existing tenant.

The study also found that tenants are generally staying longer in their chosen rented accommodation – an average of 4.1 years in 2017 to 2018, compared to 3.9 years in the previous year.

Longer tenancies and stable rents for existing tenants suggest that landlords strongly favour those tenants with whom they have an established relationship, pay their rent on time, and respect the property in which they are living.

Although there continues to be an overall shortage of housing – which results in a growing incidence of overcrowding – the standards of privately let property are nevertheless improving. In the current Survey, for example, a relatively low 14% of homes failed to meet decent housing standards, whereas in 2008 that proportion was 31%.