London renting crisis grows with a third of tenants hit by bill hikes of at least 10 per cent
A third of London renters have been hit with a bill hike of at least 10 per cent in a year, according to new official figures published on Friday.
Two thirds of renters in the capital saw a rise in the year to February, they suggested.
Overall, renters in London are seeing the biggest price increases in the country.
The scale of the renting crisis in the capital was laid bare by analysis by the Office for National Statistics which collects price data from privately rented properties every 12 months — “revisiting” them to track price changes over time.
It found that the proportion of privately rented properties revisited in February 2023 that had experienced a price increase was highest in London at 66.8 per cent per cent and lowest in the North West, 27.9 per cent, with the average for England 50.6 per cent.
This national figure was up from 36 per cent in February 2022.
The ONS added: “Tenants privately renting in London may have faced larger rental price rises compared with other English regions, with London privately rented properties revisited in February 2023 experiencing a larger average price increase (12 per cent) than the England average (9.7 per cent).
“The proportion of privately rented properties revisited in February 2023 that had experienced a price increase of 10 per cent or more was 33.3 per cent in London; this was just under double the proportion for England (18.2 per cent).”
The ONS stressed that since early 2022, revisited flats and maisonettes have “consistently experienced” the highest average percentage rental price change of all property types in London.
It highlighted that rental price increases had slowed, and even fallen, in London during the Covid pandemic.
The February 2022 estimates capture the time when private rental prices in the capital were just starting to return to positive annual growth, it added.
So, differences between February 2022 and February 2023, it explained, may emphasise the “substantial change” in the London private rental sector, which has seen different trends compared with other English regions in recent years.
Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: “Some areas have seen huge rent increases over the last two years as supply has been unable to cope with demand and nowhere has this been more true than in London.
“It means the biggest rent increases have happened in the part of the country where renting is most prevalent.
“A stronger-than-expected sales market could add to the upwards pressure on rents this year as there will be fewer so called ‘accidental landlords’, a group of owners who put their property on the lettings market after failing to achieve their asking price.”
Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director at Generation Rent, said: “It won’t shock anyone who rents in London to see the scale of unaffordable rent increases in the past year. What is surprising is to see that 30 per cent of landlords kept the rent unchanged, which shows what a lottery being a private renter is.
“Everyone needs certainty that their home will stay affordable but that’s just not possible if your landlord can turn around and demand an extra 20 per cent.
“We need to build more homes in London to stop competition driving up rents, but we also need to limit rent increases within tenancies to what is actually affordable.”