More than a third of UK landlords will be raising rents this year, with almost a quarter (24%) planning inflation-busting rent increases of more than 3%, according to a survey carried out by SpareRoom.co.uk.
This will be unwelcome news for the thousands of people who are trapped renting long term because they can’t afford to climb onto the property ladder, and saw rents soar last year. The average UK rent for a double room in shared accommodation with bills included rose by 6% in Q4 2012 to Â£112 per week –Â up from Â£106 the previous year –Â according to SpareRoom’s Rental Index.
However, almost two thirds of landlords (64%) are not planning to increase their rents in 2013, as many concede that keeping good, reliable tenants in their properties is more important than making a few hundred pounds extra profit a year.
SpareRoom also polled tenants, and found that almost half (46%) are worried about the impact that possible rent hikes will have on day to day living, as they already struggle with the financial strain of meeting rising living costs. A third (33%) have already prepared themselves for rent hikes and fully expect their landlords to increase their rents by more than 3%.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom, explains: “Tenants should check their contracts. If they are on a fixed term tenancy, landlords are not usually permitted to increase rents until the fixed term ends, unless there’s a clause in the agreement saying the rent can be increased.
“Tenants facing increases may find landlords are open to negotiation. They would much rather have good tenants that stay long term and take care of the property, than risk attracting tenants who fail to pay their rent on time or, even worse, risk void periods with no tenants and no rental income at all. If you know you’re a good tenant, don’t automatically accept the increase. Alternatively, ask your landlord to include some household bills as part of the package, or ask for home improvements to be carried out in return for the increase. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”