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Cost of renting in the private sector falls

The proportion of income spent by private tenants on rents in England has continued to fall, according to an official report on the state of the country’s housing.

Figures in the latest English Housing Survey, based on research in 2017-18, show that tenants paid an average of 32.9% of their income in rent, down from 34.3% in the previous year and from 36.4% in 2014/15.

The report, which is the most comprehensive snapshot of England’s housing stock and how people are living in it, also found that the average length of time a private sector tenant had lived in their existing home was up from 3.9 years in 2016/17 to 4.1 years in 2017/18.


The government’s new Private Landlord Survey for 2018, also published yesterday, shows that 70% of landlords kept their rents the same when they most recently renewed a tenancy showing that landlords prioritise keeping good tenants for a long term.

However, overcrowding in the private rented sector is on the up, with more than 250,000 said to be living in overcrowded private rented housing, which is the second highest level recorded since 1996, the English Housing Survey revealed.

The official figures show that overcrowding is a growing problem in general, owed to the shortage of properties.

Social housing has increased to the highest level since government records began 24 years ago with more than 300,000 households in England squeezed into too few rooms, the data shows.

Overcrowding rates are now eight times higher in social housing and six times higher in private rented accommodation than among owner-occupiers.

The research also reveals that 14% of private rented homes have “category one” hazards, compared with 6% rented from councils or housing associations. Overall, however, the standards of homes are improving. In 2008, 31% of dwellings in the PRS failed to meet the government’s decent homes standard.

John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), commented: “What emerges from the wealth of data out today is a picture of continuing improvement in affordability, security and standards for private tenants. 

“The figures also debunk the myth that landlords are always increasing rents unreasonably and looking for every opportunity to evict a tenant.

“We recognise that whilst this data confirms that the vast majority of landlords enjoy good relationships with their tenants and want them to stay on long term, there are still too many unscrupulous landlords who bring the sector into disrepute and they should be driven out of the market.”


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    Only recently there was an article on rents rising, which is my recent experience. The most telling point in this article is landlords want to keep decent tenants and so tend to keep rents the same. Why then does everyone want to deny decent tenants good properties by making it so difficult to get rid of rogue tenants? Shelter and the Corbunists are the biggest culprits in this crazy policy against decent tenants and landlords.

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    The key point in this article is decent tenants get rewarded with stable rents and long term occupation of good properties. Why then does Shelter etc want to deny decent tenants such opportunities by preventing landlords from getting rid of rogue tenants so their properties can be made available for the decent majority of tenants?

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    I have many long term tenants some of which are still paying the same rent they were when they moved in, I value good tenants, i generally increase rents on changes of tenants.


    So do I Andrew.
    It is better for me to have less rent on a regular basis, than for the tenant(s) to vacate and lose at least three months income.
    I had to evict one of my tenants for non-payment of rent and they vacated the property in October and the property is still empty awaiting new incumbents.

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    • 01 February 2019 12:17 PM

    Different LL clearly experience the market in different ways.
    I always increase rents no matter how long tenants have been there.
    If they won't pay the increase then then can vacate as far as I am concerned.
    Only two tenants have ever done that to me in over 10 years.
    I relet without any void for more rent than the increase.
    I do not increase rents unreasonably but then my rent increase reasonableness is different from what a tenant considers reasonable.
    But I have to have a RTI plus I have more than I could normally charge as an increase.
    My tenants have to pay for S24 etc.
    I need to maintain profit margins otherwise I end up a social housing provider not making any profit.
    No point in my doing that.
    So my rents increase every year via S13.
    My increases are between 4 tenants equate to 66p per day
    Peanuts in the overall scheme of things.
    That is £200 increase pcm.
    Every year without fail for the next 4 years just to pay for S24.
    Without S24 increase would have been about £60 pcm.

    It is the unreasonable Govt imposing S24 on me causing me to charge more than I ordinarily would.
    Thank God I am not paying any other licensing as my rent increases would need to be even more.

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    Sounds like you have a large portfolio with large over heads, I have 16 properties all bought and paid for with the income split with my wife which keeps us both just below the 40% tax threshold so i guess i can be a bit laid back.

    • 01 February 2019 13:14 PM

    No only 4 properties but I still need to maintain profit margins no matter how much Govt tries to reduce them.

    Rent increases are vital to ensure the business is viable
    All business must ensure costs are covered plus a profit margin otherwise all you are doing is operating a social enterprise
    I'm in the game to make a reasonable profit.
    Govt is doing its best to ensure I don't achieve this.
    Unfortunately it is my tenants that have to pay to provide my profit margin.
    If I can't increase rents pointless me remaining a LL! !
    I have standard leverage at about 75% LTV so tenants have to pay for that.
    Those LL without leverage don't have the same cost imperatives and so as you intimate can be more relaxed over rent increases.
    Cash rich LL can afford to be more flexible on rent increases as they don't have the same imperatives as leveraged LL


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