Coping with Rising Rents

Coping with Rising Rents

Rents for private rental property rose steadily in 2022, and are expected to rise another 8% during 2021, especially in London. This projected rise comes after a series of rent rises in the capital that averaged 11.5% in the previous year.

Coping with Rising Rents

Elsewhere in the UK, rents are also predicted to rise 4% on average over the course of the year. The predictions are based on a glaring fact — that there are too many potential tenants looking for a limited stock of private rental property.

High rent levels affect people in various ways. Existing tenants, many of whom face the prospect of pay cuts or even outright job losses as a result of the government’s decision to trim public spending, will have a harder time meeting rental payments. The possibility of rental arrears increasing this year looms high on the horizon.

Those who are trying to save up enough capital to purchase their first house will find the going tougher. It is not going to be easy getting a surplus on the monthly income if rent levels continue to be high and increasing.

Tenants can always try to be creative in finding ways to save money for other urgent needs. Here are some tips.

Check your tenancy agreement

A fixed-term tenancy agreement assures you of a fixed rental rate during the life of the contract. This means your landlord cannot arbitrarily raise the rent without obtaining your consent.

However, if the original (even if a fixed-term) tenancy agreement contains provisions that allow for rental reviews then the landlord does have the right to increase the rent. In that situation, try to talk things over with the landlord. If the rent rise cannot be avoided, you can try bargaining for extras such as for the landlord to absorb the cost of some utility bills, etc.

Be a property guardian

This is a short-term option, but it can bring some advantages. You can volunteer to house-sit a vacant property (residential units or commercial buildings) until the property management agency has found a need for it. The rent can be very low, say £20 a week in some areas or £65 in pricey London locations. The downside is you can be asked to leave at any time. There is really no security of tenure in property guardianships.

Keep an eye out for vacant property

Many cooperatives have control over vacant properties (there are 700,000 of these in the UK) planned for renovation or refurbishment. These may be available for short-term letting arrangements while they remain empty. You could live there as a short-life housing tenant, for a year or even longer until the housing association starts work on the property. The letting rates on such empty homes can be very cheap.

Schemes like this have operated in London and a number of cities for many years. Information about these often comes from referrals from people who know about them. There are empty homes websites you can check online.

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