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UK rent bills have more than doubled in the past decade

The UK’s total rent has more than doubled in the last 10 years, while the total amount of rent paid by tenants in Britain soared to more than £50bn in 2017.

As reported by The Guardian, the amount paid on rent may soon eclipse the entire sum paid out by homeowners for their mortgages.

The figures, compiled by the UK’s biggest estate agency and mortgage broker, Countrywide, show how the UK’s property market has drastically changed in recent years.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: “As millennials age, more are becoming homeowners, so the total amount they’re paying in rent has started to drop. But the Generation Rent title still applies. Any fall will be much smaller and slower than seen by previous generations as less become homeowners.”

Countrywide attributes the increase to rising rents and more households renting, with the report finding that tenants in Britain paid £51.6bn in rent in 2017, £1.8bn more than the previous year and more than double the £22.6bn total in 2007.

In January, the average cost of a new let was 2.4 per capita higher than at the same point last year. Prices grew fastest in London, the Midlands and South West, with rental growth accelerating in the capital especially.

With many tenants now paying more than half their salary in rent, campaigners said rent controls are urgently needed.

Dan Wilson Craw of Generation Rent said: “The private rental market has not only doubled in the past decade, but it is costing the economy more. With social housing unavailable and home ownership out of reach, millions of people have no option but to rent from a private landlord.

“This £30bn increase in the rent bill is money that people would rather be using to pay off their own mortgage or simply put food on the table. The government should be taking urgent action to bring down rents, by investing in new homes and bringing in rent control.”

The typical private tenant in England paid rent of £192 a week to their landlord in 2016-17, compared with £102 for tenants in the social and council house sector.

Buy-to-let landlords have increasingly displaced first-time buyers over the past two decades, and there are now estimated to be around two million landlords in the UK, owning around 5m properties.

The latest English Housing Survey, published in January, found that 46% of 25-34 year olds now live in private rentals, compared with 27% in 2006-07. In London, private renting is now the most common form of tenure.

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