Rent costs forcing tenants to cut back on food and heating

"Rents are a large cause of modern human misery," say campaigners

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The Independent Online

Nearly 40 per cent of renters are economising on heating and a third are cutting back on food because of increasing rental costs, a new poll suggests.

The survey from Generation Rent shows that more than half of tenants say their biggest problem as renters is the cost of rent.

Two thirds admit that the main reason they rent is because they cannot afford to buy their own property but a third say they are living in properties with unacceptable dampness with a third adding that their landlord does not seem interested in their living conditions.

Generation Rent is calling for a national register of landlords, the licensing of letting agents, and minimum conditions as a prerequisite of letting. it also wants to see longer, more secure tenancies and more affordable privately rented homes.

Figures from the National Union of Students also indicated that more than three quarters of students have a problem with the condition of their home, with a quarter reporting problems with mice or other infestations.

It also showed that more than a third are getting into debt to meet upfront costs to get a property and a similar number are also struggling with energy bills. "Although there's a commonly-held perception that poor quality student housing is a rite of passage," said NUS Vice President Colum McGuire, "it is both disgusting and unacceptable that students should live in vermin infested housing in this day and age."

Alex Hilton, Director of Generation Rent, said: "Across the country, high rents are hitting private tenants who have no alternative while home ownership remains unaffordable. With millions having to cut back on essentials like food and heating, it is clear that rents are a large cause of modern human misery."

Earlier this month, housing charity Shelter said thousands of renters are suffering ‘revenge evictions’ for speaking up about the bad conditions in which they live. Its figures show that over the last 12 months more than 200,000 people have faced eviction because they asked their landlord to fix a problem in their home.