Property rental costs are at their highest level ever and now account for nearly half of the average British family's monthly earnings, according to figures published today.
The average rent has risen to £890 a month – 46 per cent of the typical tenant's net income. In London, rent accounts for more than three-quarters of average earnings. Landlords in the capital charge an average of £2,075 per month, while the typical household brings in £2,721 in net monthly income.
A survey shows that average monthly rents rose by 1.6 per cent last month. FindaProperty.com, which compiled the rental index, said asking prices had risen every month this year, and were up 4.6 per cent in 12 months, adding £468 to the average annual rent bill. It said tenants could expect to spend 46.2 per cent of their monthly net earnings on accommodation.
The homelessness charity Shelter said people who could not afford to own a property were now struggling to meet rental costs as well.
Its 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."