According to the homeless charity, most English local authorities have priced families out of renting property. Shelter.
Shelter Rent Watch discovered that private rents are unaffordable for average working families in 55% of England’s local authorities. Private landlords typically charged rents that were greater than one-third of the median take-home pay, a widely accepted measurement of affordability.
Shelter stated that Shelter’s research found that 38% of families who were renting privately with children had cut back on food in order to pay their rent.
Although renting is considered to be a cheaper option than home ownership, high house prices and credit crunch have caused many potential homebuyers not to rent but to stay as tenants.
In the meantime, a growing number of people who would normally fall within the social housing category have been forced into the private sector because of a severe shortage of housing association property and local authority. In the last five years, nearly one million tenants have rented privately.
Rents have risen due to increased demand, especially in London boroughs which are some of the most expensive areas in England. At £1,360, the average rent for a two-bedroom home in the capital is almost two-and-a-half times the average in the rest of the country (£568). Oxford, which has 55% of the typical earnings, is the most affordable local authority.
Renters on benefits in these areas have already had difficulty finding properties to rent within new local housing allowance limits. These were introduced in April for new tenants.
Shelter stated that many tenants in rural areas are also suffering from high rents and low earnings.
It was found that renting in Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham is more affordable than in North Devon or North Dorset. Yorkshire properties are cheaper to rent in Sheffield and Bradford than in rural Ryedale or Richmondshire.
Shelter’s analysis revealed that 88% of England’s local authorities could not afford to rent. The median rent was 50% of the median income. 21% of these were extremely expensive, with rent equivalents of 40%-49% of the median salary. 29% were also very costly with rent equivalents of 35%-39%.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said that there were worrying signs that renters could be forced to leave due to the wide range of affordability in the country.
“We are now all too familiar with first-time buyers being priced out of the housing market. But the impact of unaffordable rentals is much more severe.” There is no cheaper option, so ordinary people have to cut down on their food and heating costs, move away from schools, jobs, and family, or even uproot.
Robb stated that it was urgent for the government “to seriously consider private renting as a stable and affordable option for families” and not as a burden on parents who have to choose between paying rent or buying food for their kids.
Alice Barnard is the chief executive officer of The Countryside AllianceAccording to the report, the shortage of affordable housing to rent and buy is one of the most pressing problems facing rural communities.
“The countryside has seen twice as many people move to urban areas than the urban area, which has led to an increase in prices and forced families to make sacrifices to cover spiraling rental costs. It has also driven young families away from the communities they have lived,” she stated.
“If we want rural communities to flourish, the government must urgently review the rural rental market to allow rural communities to fulfill their housing needs.
Melissa Brown, a part-time yoga teacher, and her husband David*, a college lecturer, found it impossible to rent a decent affordable property when their landlord decided to sell their existing home.
The couple, who live in Brighton with their three children, had been renting a three-bedroom terrace house for £1,250 a month for two-and-a-half years but last January was told they had to move out because the landlord wanted to sell up.
It took them six months to find somewhere that was still close enough to their children’s school and they ended up moving in September into a three-bedroom house for £1,550 a month.
Although the house has damp issues and is in dire need of decorating, Melissa said that it was one of the worst properties she saw.
“Most of the rented houses in this area are not suitable for families, as the lounges have been converted into bedrooms by landlords to let students live there. She stated that professional groups live in shared houses without a common area. “We have been renting for years, and it has never been this bad.” It’s all driven greedily.
She added: “We did ask about repairs to this house and the landlord is paying for paint, but she has been told she could rent the house out to students for £1,650 a month and already thinks she’s doing us a favor.”
Their couple’s household income is about £2,000 a month and they are already really struggling to make ends meet.
The family intends to use the loft as an additional bedroom for a lodger in order to raise money. Melissa explained that “the landlord doesn’t mind us raising the rent. So we are thinking about becoming landlords.” You can’t beat them, join them.
*The names have been changed in this case study