Posts tagged ‘letting’

Why is renting so expensive?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

How much do you spend on your monthly rent? And if you’re no longer a renter, how much did you pay the last time you had a landlord or letting agent to keep happy? Unless it was a very long time ago, you probably spent a pretty penny and certainly more than you wished you had. So spare a thought for those who rent now, especially the growing numbers of single-person households living in small homes.

That’s because the latest Rental Index reveals the cost of renting a flat has reached an all-time high. Rental asking prices for studio flats have increased by nearly 7% in the past year to reach an average £718 a month, while one-bedroom flats increased by 2.5% to a record £660 per month.

It’s all smiles when you get the keys to your new rental home, but affording the monthly rent isn’t always so much fun

Overall, asking rents have increased in the first quarter of 2012 and are now at £868 per month, 1% up on the same time last year, but below the record high of £890 in September 2011.

But it’s the proportion of take home income spent on letting a home that brings the renting story to life.

Tenants are now spending on average 38%, or £10,416, of their typical £27,242 net salary on rent. In London, it’s even more – households spend 71%, or £25, 824, of their average £36,384 net income on paying rent. Or think about it another way – the average rental household in London spends nearly as much on their rent in a year as the average UK household takes home as income.

There’s an important regional story here too. Renters in South East England spend the next highest proportion with 42% of take-home income going on rent; in the South West it’s 39%; in the East of England it’s 33%; and in the West Midlands, Wales and the North East it’s 32%. Those in Scotland spend 31% of their take-home income on rent; in the North West and Yorkshire it’s 29%; and in the East Midlands it’s 28%.

But what’s causing this? Quite simply, rents have risen because of stricter lending rules which have made it harder for aspiring buyers to get a foot on the property ladder. As a result, less of us are buying, more of us are renting and the increased demand for homes to rent have forced asking prices up. The good news is that mortgage lending was 30% up in March compared to January, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

And while some of that increase is down to buyers scrambling to complete their sales before the end of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers, it’s still a good sign. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for the trickle down affect on rents.

May 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

Renting a property: Are you being safe?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

If you’re a renter, or have ever rented a home, you’ll already know the toe-curling truth about the sector – it’s expensive and involves, at least at the beginning of a lease, an awful lot of money changing hands.

The other thing about renting is that it’s a wholly unregulated industry, which means anyone can set themselves up as a letting agent. This becomes a problem when inexperienced letting agents go bust or disappear overnight taking renters’ (and landlords’) money with them.

Thank goodness then for SAFEagent – a scheme created by agents to help make the lettings industry “safer” for renters. And what better time to remind ourselves of the positive work the scheme is doing than during SAFEagent Awareness Week which was marked today in the House of Commons.

Are you safe? Look out for the SAFEagent kitemark when using a letting agent. SAFEagent Awareness Week was marked at the House of Commons today.

In a nutshell, SAFEagent is an income protection scheme that aims to stamp out the devastating stories of renters being left homeless, cashless and without a legal leg to stand on when their letting agent collapses. The idea is that would-be tenants (and landlords) look out for the SAFEagent kitemark (pictured above) and choose their agent knowing they have income protection in place. This simply means that renters (and landlords) are protected if the letting agent goes bust or tries to rip off its customers.

It’s of course worth remembering that the vast majority of letting agents are reputable, however, the unregulated nature of the industry means risky agents do exist.

Today’s gathering at the Palace of Westminster was a great opportunity to hear from SAFEagent about their success. After launching to the public in September last year, SAFEagent already has close to 2,000 agents signed up and plans to expand even further. It’s backed by some big names including the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), the Law Society and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

So whether you’re a renter or a landlord, the next time you use a letting agent, check they’re a SAFEagent first. It makes sense to be protected.

May 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM

A quarter of Brits don’t know their neighbour’s name

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Perhaps the Queen had an inkling of how bad things were when she used her historic speech to Parliament last month to call on the nation to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee by being a good neighbour.

Noise tops the list of the UKs top neighbour complaint, while Wales is our most neighbourly region

Turns out 13 million of us (or 26 per cent) don’t know the name of the person who lives next door, 22 per cent don’t know what they do for a living, 7 per cent have absolutely no idea who they are and 3 per cent feel threatened by them, according to new research by

But the days of borrowing a cup of sugar might not be completely behind us, as the survey reveals that a fifth of us (or 19 per cent) say they would actually like to have a better relationship with their neighbours.

Part of the reason we now feel more isolated from our neighbours is down to the fact that we move home more frequently. As renting a home continues to loose its stigma and becomes the norm for increasing numbers of us, we’re staying put for the length of our tenancy agreements, rather than the longer stretches traditionally associated with buying a home.

Have you thought about holding a street party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee? They’re considered a great way to get to know your neighbours

Add to this changes in the way we engage with each other through the rise of social media and the result is that we’re increasingly staying in our living rooms with our eyes trained down on laptops, phones and tablets. Many of us would rather tweet our local knowledge questions than knock on the door of the person at number 2 to ask about the best local locksmith or curry house.

But are we missing a trick with our “unneighbourly” attitudes? Knowing the person next door can improve security and quality of life. We all want to feel safe and comfortable in our homes and the strength of our relationships with the people who live nearby affect this.

Of course, not everyone can get on with their neighbours. According to the figures, 11 million (22%) people in the UK have fallen out with the person next door  in the past five years. Although the majority of these disagreements were verbal, 744,000 Brits admit to having had a physical fight or scuffle with their neighbour over the same period and a million say the disagreement resulted in damage to property. Unable to resolve these disputes, 1.1 million people were forced to call the police and just over half a million (646,000) resorted to legal action.

Noise was the most common cause of disputes between neighbours as cited by 37% of those who said they’d had a disagreement. Parking (15%), pets (13%) and children (12%) also appear high on the list.

But bear in mind, if you do fall out, it could make things difficult when the time comes to sell your property as sellers have an obligation to disclose details of any complaints made against their neighbours to future buyers. Oh, and tenancy references often ask whether you’ve ever had an issue with a neighbour too.

Food for thought for the next time you cross paths with your own neighbour.

April 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM Leave a comment

Renting with pets: How to bark up the right tree when it comes to a new home

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

One of the consequences of our hot rental market is that it’s making things even more difficult for those whose households include a four-legged friend.

Lets with Pets – how to find you (and Fido) a new home

Dogs Trust, who run a scheme called Lets with Pets – which aims to help pet owners find private homes to rent – has noticed the issue too: they’ve recorded a 56% increase in the number of people taking their dogs to the pound because of housing problems.

They’ve also been talking directly to people about their experiences of renting a home and found 1 in 3 of the 5,695 pet owners surveyed said they were unable to find a suitable property. Those without a Fido or Kitty spend an average 50 days looking for a rental property, but the Dogs Trust research shows that over half of all pet owners spend from two months to a year searching for a home to let.

Despite their dog’s extreme cuteness, one in three pet owners say they could not find a home to rent with their pet

Clare Kivlehan, who runs Lets with Pets, says she’s working with agents and landlords to encourage them to consider allowing pets in their properties as well as giving both parties practical advice about how to make this happen.

Man’s best friend: often unwanted by private landlords

“Since we launched Lets with Pets we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people contacting us for advice,” Kivlehan says. “We’re campaigning for lettings agents and landlords to take a ‘Pets Considered approach rather than rejecting all pets. We’d like pet owners to be able to search easily on property websites for suitable options rather than having to make individual enquiries.”

For a nation of pet lovers, the Dogs Trust research highlights a very real issue which is only going to be drawn further into focus as the weather gets colder and Christmas approaches. Unwanted pets are one thing – but having to give up your best friend because you can’t find a rental home where you’re welcome is agonizing.

Let’s hope this scheme can help sort this problem out so our furry friends can get back to doing what they do best – long walks, playing fetch and bounding about with exuberance.

November 1, 2011 at 1:48 PM Leave a comment

The Rental Index – October

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

The Rental Index is the most up-to-date sample of residential property letting prices. The index monitors changes in letting prices both annually and monthly, providing a comprehensive view on the current state of the property market in England and Wales. Read the October Index.

October 19, 2011 at 1:00 AM Leave a comment

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