Over a quarter of private renters have faced a rent increase in the last year
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance
rental agreementImage: rental agreement via Shutterstock
Twenty-six percent of private sector renters have faced a rent increase in the last year - and almost two thirds are struggling or falling behind with their payments.
According to a new survey by the housing charity Shelter, one in three renters are cutting back on birthday and Christmas presents, whilst one in 12 have borrowed money from their children to pay the rent.
The study of 4,300 private renters - the largest of its kind ever conducted - also found that one in four are visiting their family and friends less, and one in seven has used a credit card to pay their rent.
The survey also found that six percent of renters, the equivalent of almost 515,000 people, had been forced to move home because of a rent rise.
Over nine million people are now renting their home from a private landlord.
The demand has pushed up rents, which rose by an average of almost £300 last year in England, while wages remained stagnant, Shelter claims.
The charity is now calling for Stable Rental Contracts to be brought in, which it believes will give renting families a chance to plan their finances and put down roots in their home.
"This is proof that the growing cost of renting is hitting families where it hurts, forcing them to make impossible choices about what they can cut back on next," said Shelter CEO Campbell Robb.
He added: "When families are forced to resort to taking money from their children’s savings or paying their rent on a credit card, it’s a clear sign that sudden rent rises are pushing many ordinary families to the edge.
"If the government wants to make life easier for ordinary families, it has to reform our expensive, unstable rental market."
However, the British Property Federation (BPF) welcomed the figures, pointing to the fact that 74 percent of private landlords had either frozen or lowered their rents in the last 12 months.
The organisation has claimed that Shelter's research suggests that the squeeze on family budgets is more a reflection on cuts in benefits, stagnant incomes and a general rise in the cost of staple goods and services than on rental inflation.
Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the BPF, said: “Shelter’s stable rental contract has some good intentions, but it isn’t clear what impact it would have.
"For example, Shelter should clarify if it is calling for rents to be index-linked to RPI or to CPI. Even the difference between these two figures is very important because the consequences could leave millions of tenants or landlords financially worse off.”