A pressure group is calling on the government to introduce in-tenancy restrictions on how much rents can be raised, and claims that currently landlords can “name their price” and are “cashing in”
Generation Rent - in its first major statement under a new director - claims that “Rents everywhere have been rising faster than wages, and in some parts of the country, including London, faster than inflation. And even if we’re not moving, our landlords are often demanding that we start paying the going market rate.”
It says demand has increased partly because some 300,000 young adults have left their parental homes since the end of pandemic restrictions in 2021 which “has allowed landlords to name their price.”
It says a study of Office for National Statistics figures shows that from summer 2021, as offices and universities reopened, many young adults moved back to cities and the mainstream rental market. Specifically in the 12 months to June 2022, the number of young adults living with parents fell by 307,000, the campaign group contends.
In a statement, Generation Rent explains: “Tenancy deposit data we obtained via Freedom of Information indicates that these young adults predominantly moved into private rented homes. The size of the deposit protection system increased by 101,000 deposits in the 2020-21 financial year, a 50% fall on the pre-pandemic average annual growth of 150,000. But in 2021-22, the number of deposits protected increased by 217,000, and increased again in 2022-23 by 226,000. (Many of these deposits will be protected on behalf of more than one individual.)”
The activists also accuse landlords of “cashing in” on the increasing market rents triggered by the higher demand, saying: “In many ways the pandemic is long behind us, but its reverberations are still making life miserable for private renters, who are not just facing fierce competition for new tenancies, but are also vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases imposed by landlords who want to cash in on rising market rents.”
The group - led since last week by new director Ben Twomey - says it wants the government to increase Local Housing Allowance so that renters getting benefits can cover market rents; build more social housing; and “place limits on in-tenancy rent rises so that tenants do not face rent increases they cannot afford.”
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