Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Private rents in England unaffordable, says Shelter - and I agree

Shelter last week  published Shelter’s Rent Watch. It is the first in a series of reports examining local rent levels and affordability compared to average earnings in each local authority.

The report reveals just how much people are struggling to pay their rents in each area of the country and includes statistics for people living in Hyndburn.

• Private rented sector rents are unaffordable for average earners in over half of local authorities.
• In the last five years, the number of people renting privately has increased by almost 40%.
• It’s not just students and young professionals who rent: there are now more than a million households with children who rent privately - almost a third of the whole sector.
• From 1997 to 2007, rents increased at 1.5 times the rate of incomes.

People in the Private Rented Sector are trapped. 50% work and with rents running at near £100 may always be priced out of home ownership. Those on benefits will trapped between the Governments decsion to cut benefits to force landlords to cfharge less and landlords who will always want a fixed return on their asset.

People are being treated like rabbits in hutches. Properties that are so bad they aren't homes and rents that result for manty a life sentence of dispair, lack of any hope or aspiarion and at worst absolute misery. The children affected by this have poorer health, poor educational achievement and I was delighted that Jack Dromey' labour's new hosuing minsiter has committed Labour to establishing standards in the PRS.

Find out more about rents and affordability in your local area by visiting Shelter’s Rent Watch.

We think that both national and local government strategies need to contain significant new thinking to tackle rental affordability. If you would like to find out more about this or wider issues affecting the private rented sector please get in touch with Shelter’s public affairs team at public_affairs@shelter.org.uk.

Shelter, 88 Old St, London, EC1V 9HU
0344 515 1182
07899 918597
www.shelter.org.uk/parliament

Private rents in England unaffordable, says Shelter
from BBC
Just 12% of areas in England have affordable rents, research by housing charity Shelter found.

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Private rents are now unaffordable in 55% of local authorities in England, the housing charity Shelter has said. 

Homes in these areas cost more than 35% of median average local take-home pay - the level considered unaffordable by Shelter's Private Rent Watch report.
The charity said 38% of families with children who rent privately have cut back on buying food to help pay rent.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said it had curbed red tape "which would have pushed up rents and reduced choice".

Shelter's research found rents had risen at one-and-a-half times the rate of incomes in the 10 years up to 2007.
'Dramatic impact' It said private rents in 8% of England's local authorities were "extremely unaffordable" - with average rents costing at least half of full-time take-home pay.
Just 12% of areas were affordable, it added.

Shelter analysed two-bedroom homes because they were so widely found and used Valuation Office Agency and Office for National Statistics data.

England's regional divide
  • Average monthly rent for two-bedroom home in London is £1,360 - almost two-and-a-half times more than the rest of England
  • Kensington and Chelsea is the highest at £2,714 a month
  • Burnley in Lancashire the lowest at £394 a month
  • Oxford is the least affordable area outside London
  • Blackpool is the least affordable in north of England
Source: Shelter
Chief executive Campbell Robb said: "We have become depressingly familiar with first-time buyers being priced out of the housing market, but the impact of unaffordable rents is more dramatic.

"With no cheaper alternative, ordinary people are forced to cut their spending on essentials like food and heating, or uproot and move away from jobs, schools and families."

Rural areas were found to be worst hit by the high rentals relative to income, with rents in Manchester and Birmingham more affordable than in north Devon or Herefordshire.

Alice Barnard from the Countryside Alliance urged the government to "urgently review" the rental market in rural areas.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the government recognised the importance of private landlords in providing accessible and affordable homes.
"We have stopped the imposition of excessive new red tape on the private rented sector, which would have pushed up rents and reduced choice for tenants," he said.

"We also need to build more homes given new house building fell to its lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s under the last administration."
He said councils would be rewarded for freeing up disused public land to build on.

Map showing affordability of rented housing across England
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