We often get asked why the rent is being increased. This might be in the form of "why is the rent more for new tenants than it was for the old tenants?" or it might be "why is my rent increasing when I'm renewing my tenancy?".
Rent increases for the same reason that everything else goes up in price, inflation. Please click here to understand further about inflation. Generally, inflation is when everything is a little more expensive and that has a knock on effect for everything else. Petrol goes up in price, labour, insurance, etc. and this all has a knock on effect.
Specifically for rent, landlords are facing ever more difficult times due to government attacks on the Private Rented Sector. These attacks cost landlords money and make being a landlord more difficult and more expensive and therefore landlords increase the rent they need to charge. The recent political climate has been very anti-landlord and anti-letting agent. The government and the opposition party have been enacting populist policies making it more expensive and more difficult to be a landlord. On the face of it many renters see these policies and think that they are good for them, but they don't see the knock-on effect that is "If my landlord pays more tax, I get charged more rent", "If my landlord pays more for his mortgage, I get charged more rent", "If my agent can't charge me fees at the start of my tenancy and has to charge my landlord more, I get charged more rent".
It is our opinion that the only way the government can reduce the cost of rent is to reduce the demand for rented properties by building more affordable housing. The more affordable housing there is, the fewer people are fighting over the same rented properties, the more landlords there are offering you their properties, and the cheaper the properties are in the first place.
What many renters fail to think about is that the house they're renting is worth a lot of money, money that has been invested in a property to provide a return on investment. There are so many costs associated with being a landlord, the mortgage for the property, the costs of following all the regulations, the cost of keeping the property in a good state of repair, the cost of insuring the property, the cost of hiring a letting agent to assist with the property, etc. Every time the government makes it more difficult for a landlord/letting agent, what they are doing is, in fact, making it more expensive for the tenant at the end of the day.
What can you (the tenant) do about it?
First, we recommend speaking with your local member of parliament (MP) and explaining that you want them to build more local affordable housing and you want them to stop putting excessive requirements on landlords and letting agents that result in increased rent at the end of the day.
Second, we recommend being a good tenant. Good tenants who look after properties, don't waste the landlords' money on lots of call-outs from contractors when they could have taken care of the matter themselves, and who always pay their rent on time, are likely to see lower rent increases as a result.
Third, tenants who improve properties at their own expense can sometimes negotiate with the landlord to agree that if they do XYZ then the landlord will agree to keep the rent the same for the upcoming year.