Renting a home in Greater London is now 85% more expensive than anywhere else – the largest difference ever recorded!
Average rents in the capital have increased by 8.4% over the past year and now stand at £1,260 per month, whilst across the UK the average cost of renting a home now stands at £789 per month representing a 2% increase on the same period last year.
The majority of regions, however, have seen either a decrease or minimal increase in average rents during the past 12 months. Regions that saw the largest drop are the North East and South West where rental costs lowered over the same period by 2.6% and 2.4% respectively.
Apart from the passing of the 1988 & 2004 Housing Acts by Parliament I have never experienced such a collection of changes to renting a flat all in one go. The following Legislation has just become effective (April 2012).
Tenancy Deposit Protection information must now be provided within 30 days or you may be fined and invalidate your right to evict a Tenant by issuing a S21 notice.
An EPC must be commissioned before a property can be marketed and the EPC must actually be issued within 7 days of marketing.
In 2018, rental properties with the two lowest EPC scores are due to be banned from the market, meaning that landlords must have improved them by then.
Local Housing Allowance rates are reduced so that about 3 in 10 properties for rent in the area should be affordable to people on Housing Benefit, rather than every 5 in 10 properties as before.
Local Housing Allowance weekly rates in any area cannot exceed:
£250 for a one bedroom property
£290 for a two bedroom property
£340 for a three bedroom property
£400 for a four bedroom property
Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefits) will be set in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Prices Index (RPI)
Small-shared houses or flats occupied by between 3 and 6 unrelated individuals who share basic amenities were reclassified under planning laws from “C3 Dwelling Houses” to “C4 Houses in Multiple Occupation“. Depending in which part of the country you are you may need Planning Permission to rent these.
So from today the tenancy agreements that you use should be different to the ones that you used to use. The way that I keep up to date with legislation is through my membership of the Guild of Landlords which costs me £80 p.a. and provides me with current documents and a legal advice line to advise me on their use. I chose the Guild because it was strongly recommended to me, and I appreciate the personal nature of the organisation. However the other landlord organisations have their own supporters, and I don’t think that it is important which one you join, just that you do join one of them.
I was ill – I caught a debilitating disease for which the medical term is Domii Pauci – my G.P. identified the problem and got me an appointment with a specialist who had devoted his life to curing people with this complaint. I prepared a wet fish, and finally the day came for my appointment and I marched into his surgery and announced:
“You bloodsucking leech! How can you live off the misery of your patients! How dare you sit in your comfortable surgery, taking taxpayers money? I am going to make sure that you never practise medicine again! Then I hit him round the face with a wet fish. I don’t think we will see HIM in surgery again!
At least that was the message that I got from today’s Independent in their story:
Yes there is a problem, especially in London: a modest two-bedroom place in London’s Zone 2 – a standard monthly rent is indeed £800, even £900. The Independent reports hundreds of furious Londoners bombarding with their renting horror stories. One had a 35 per cent rent hike imposed on them at Christmas; another was forced to desert their Stockwell flat after a 40 per cent increase. “My tiny flat in the East End went up by £200 a month for the next occupants when I left”. Clearly the patient is sick, sick with Domii Pauci – a housing shortage.
The Independent’s solution is the wet fish: “Private landlords can do as they please, of course. Having a roof over your head is a basic human requirement and, when there is a lack of houses to go around, it is a need that can be exploited. A landlord knows that, if their tenants don’t like an outrageous rent hike, their only option is to put themselves back at the mercy of the ever more pricey private renting market. According to Shelter, annual rents in inner London went up by 7 per cent last year – or just under £1,000 for a two-bedroom house. When people’s wages are flat-lining, that’s a big hit.”
As a Landlord of some 20 years I have seen this coming, indeed it’s why I am a Landlord. The strange thing is that the Government hasn’t seen it coming, and still doesn’t understand why it is happening, and getting worse. The fixed costs of being a Landlord are increasing exponentially – Pimlico Flats has had to take on an employee solely for the purpose of administering deposits, council tax, utilities. Computerisation has enabled big corporations like Westminster City Council to remove thinking from their activities and leave automated mailshots. New regulations require building work to prevent such things as “death by only having one lock” ……. again, many of the new initiatives are good, and contribute to tenants well being, but some don’t. And all carry a cost, and at the end of the day the tenant bears that cost, not government, or the landlord.
It’s time for Government and Shelter to examine what leads to higher rents, and what leads to lower rents, and to act accordingly.
Meantime don’t be surprised if Landlords leave the Planet saying thanks for all the fish.