Rental deposits rise while rent levels hold steady

Homelessness caused by rental eviction reaches ten year high

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The Independent Online

Rental deposits have jumped from an average of £600 in 2007 to almost £900 in 2013, according to the Deposit Protection Service. In the last year, the largest number of claims were made for damage, overtaking cleaning for the first time. 

Rents rose by 0.6 per cent in May, according to LSL Property Services which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.

This makes the average rent in England and Wales  £745 per month, although figures from Move with Us suggest the national average advertised rent has now gone over the £1,000 mark, and more than double that in London.

The LSL measure means that the average residential rent across England and Wales is now 1.1 per cent higher than in May 2013 and marks the the twelfth successive month that rents have risen more slowly than inflation.

"Private renting is becoming cheaper in real terms," said David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move. "Rents are not a single pound higher than they were in December, yet over the same six months some politicians have portrayed the industry as facing some sort of crisis. A squeeze on living standards may well be the biggest challenge of our age.  But rents are not the cause."

The fastest annual rent increase is in the South West, where the average monthly rent is now 3.9 per cent higher than in May 2013, followed by the East Midlands (3.8 per cent) and the North West (2.3 per cent). Rents in London are only one per cent higher than in May 2013.

LSL's report also indicates that the total amount of late rent across England and Wales is £240 million, down from £276 million in May 2013, with tenant arrears now seven per cent of all rent compared to 8.2 per cent a year ago. 

However, according to Shelter homelessness caused by rental eviction has reached a 10 year high, rising 14 per cent over the last year. This accounted for more than a quarter of all homelessness cases making it the number one cause of homelessness in England.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures are the final proof that England’s rental market is broken. We know something is very wrong when a family can be kicked out at short notice. Unstable tenancies and the huge cost of private rents eating away at monthly budgets mean many millions of families are living under the constant threat of eviction, and unable to put down roots."

It follows findings of a new study by the Smith Institute which shows only two per cent of councillors regard the new supply of private rented housing as a top priority.