A third of renters are spending more than 50% of their wages on rent

A third of renters are spending more than 50% of their wages on rent

0:04 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago 8

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Research reveals that 81% of renters in the UK are spending more than 30% of their take-home pay on rent – which means that most Brits are now classified as ‘rent burdened’ and it’s getting worse.

The data from flatshare site SpareRoom also shows that one in three (34%) tenants are spending more than half of their salary on rent, making them ‘severely rent burdened’.

But it’s worse for London’s renters with 86% of them forking out more than 30% of their income on rent.

Faced with the rising costs of living, including food and transport bills, means the increasing cost of renting has left many renters struggling to make ends meet.

‘Rent should be around 30% of your salary’

Matt Hutchinson, a director at SpareRoom, said: “When it comes to affordability, the rule of thumb was that rent should be around 30% of your salary.

“This definition was outdated even pre-pandemic, but in the context of a cost-of-living and housing crisis, a 30% benchmark isn’t anywhere close to being realistic.”

He adds: “With over 80% of the UK already rent-burdened, and over a third spending over half of their salary on rent, people are really feeling the squeeze, and rising rents will only cause yet more affordability issues for those renting.

“It’s crucial the government understands the severity of this situation and starts to help, or this housing crisis will become a housing disaster.”

Considerable shift in what is considered an ‘affordable’

The SpareRoom data also shows that there has been a considerable shift in what is considered an ‘affordable’ and it says that between 2019 and 2021, around one in three renters classified their rent as unaffordable.

However, just over half of renters (54%) feel the same way today.

The affordability gap is particularly evident among women with a staggering 85% of women spending more than 30% of their salary on rent each month, compared to 77% of men.

The data also demonstrates that more than half of women (59%) deem their rent as ‘unaffordable’, compared to 50% of men.

Spending a larger proportion of their take-home pay on rent

As expected, people living in London, the South East and South West England are spending a larger proportion of their take-home pay on rent than other regions.

And in the capital, a huge 86% of renters pay more than 30% of their salary on rent, followed by 83% in the South West and 82% in the South East.

SpareRoom’s Q1 Rental Index confirms that rents are continuing to rise all around the UK, meaning affordability issues are not likely to ease any time soon.

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11:25 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Yes but ... in London, keeping 70% of your take home pay to spend on other living expenses will probably see you better off than those outside London where 70% of your take home pay may be insufficent to live on.


11:43 AM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Interesting stats. I am not sure what point you are trying to make, without the similar percentages for people who have the same demographics as the tenants in your survey ( salary, age, etc) who are living in their own homes with a mortgage.
Then is it interest only or repayment.
I moved from Devon to work in london many years ago. I could not afford to live in london and had to balance the numbers with the cost of commuting 1 hour each way each day and buying a family home against the cost of these 2 variables living closer to my work place. Life is always going to be about making choices.
I look forwards to seeing the comparable stats when comparing like with like.

I suggest the main issue is finding the deposit to be able to prove to mortgage lenders you meet their criteria. Which will look at one’s past and current finances.

I do agree with you in All Housing today is expensive


13:45 PM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

So, ‘Rent should be around 30% of your salary’.

When I bought my first house interest rates were at 14% and my mortgage was more than 50% of my salary. It was crippling but I survived it through a lot of hard work and a lot of saving and sacrifice. I couldn't eat out or go on holiday much and I had to forego a lot of other luxuries.

Presumably then as the wages of my tenants rise in line with the cost of living and increases in interest rates being imposed by the Bank of England, when I do my tenants' credit checks to make sure that they can afford to rent my property I can:

(a) automatically refuse to house anyone on benefits when their income is not 30% of the gross rent payable at market rate for the property.

(b) look at my tenants' last two or three pay slips (which my agent has to do anyway) and increase my rent to 30% of their salary.


14:13 PM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 24/05/2023 - 13:45
I get your thinking But
If some of us want to provide accommodation to people going forwards for a reasonable profit then I think both sides TENANTS and LANDLORDS need to communicate much better and find a workable solution. If not some good landlords will retire and sell up and that I don’t believe is a good thing for tenants either.
Am I the only person who believes the gap between LL and Tenants is growing?
Which I think is avoidable if we try and work together and try and understand WHY!


14:35 PM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Cocks at 24/05/2023 - 14:13
So I do understand landlords feeling sympathy for tenants if they have tenants who pay the rent on time and in full, look after the property, and get on with the neighbours. Those are the long-term tenants we all want.

However, if the government wants me or any other landlord to provide 'affordable' accommodation I think they should:

(1) Allow me to deduct my finance costs from my rents.

(2) Ensure that I have a deposit: If under the newly proposed reformed deal for renters the renter can always be 7 weeks in arrears but never be evicted because that falls below the threshold of two months on 3 occasions then in effect I don't have a deposit.

(3) Allow me to offset the costs of investing in my property to improve my EPC rating as a revenue expense as opposed to a capital expense (which I will have to borrow to finance and presently be unable to deduct the finance cost).

(4) Allow me to invest my pension into improving the EPC rating of my property to Band A so that we all save the planet and the tenant gets to stay somewhere more sustainable.

Now if the government isn't prepared to do that because the government has driven landlords out of the PRS and that has exacerbated problems of supply and forced rents up I can't really see that this problem of rents being >50% of salary is anything to do with me; in any case, that's what I had to pay when I first bought a house.

So if the government doesn't change all that I'm going to make sure that my agent retains copies of my tenants' salary slips (or SA302 if self-employed) when they are provided for the affordability checks; and when I increase the rent to market rate and the tenant takes me to a tribunal under the new rules coming out (as the tenant probably will because there is no incentive in the new rules for the tenant not to take me to a tribunal and therefore I need to bump my rent up high before the tribunal drops it) then I will get my solicitor to flourish my tenants' evidence of income and point out that it is not >30% of his or her salary.


15:10 PM, 24th May 2023, About A year ago

Beaver i totally understand ALL your points.
my concerns are the gap between LL an Tenants is getting larger.
is it both sides dont understand each others point of view?
is it because we have different agendas?
is the gap exacerbated by 'political ' comments and advice to bend the rules, and not to encourage a long term partnership etc?
your word 'affordable' probably means something different to each party.
i feel tenants dont understand what most landlords have to do and that might be based of a previous bad experience.

if we dont have a dialogue between the the parties to try and aire the differences i see little point in challenging the government or any other body to improve the relationship between Tenants and LL .
thank you for listing all your points of views and thoughts.
NB i bought my first house in 1971, had to have 1 years gross salary as a deposit and 5 times salary mortgage. it was tough but that was our choice an it meant accepting every opportunity to earn more money, be it overtime (converting hand written ledgers to decimalization ), having a Liitlewoods Football coupon weekly collection round, hand delivering local business letters during a postal strike (no emails at that time), working as a counting clerk at elections, and helping out at weddings and local events.
these were the choices i made to achieve what i wanted.


14:16 PM, 25th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Cocks at 24/05/2023 - 15:10
It's really very simple: What you want from a tenant is pay the rent on time and in full, look after the property, get on with the neighbours. Be a grown up. If you don't know how to do something communicate honestly...don't lie. Then you'll get treated fairly by most landlords.

The government already provides a How To Rent booklet which I supply to my tenants as I assume we all do.

I make all reasonable efforts to keep my property safe and fit for habitation as I assume most of us do.

Tenants have tenancy agreements that they need to read and adhere to. Many do not and the consequences of that failure creates costs that are passed on by landlords to their other tenants and that of course is not fair to the majority of decent tenants.

PRS landlords are not social services. Nor can they be expected to act as the tenants' bank or lending institution.

If the government wants something better for most tenants then they need to deal with 1,2,3 and 4. above. If they also want to do something better for social housing tenants then you can add a 5 as follows:

(5) (a) Reverse the law that says the council can reclaim the rent off the landlord if the council finds that the tenant is not eligible for benefits or
(b) confirm to the landlord when the tenant is or is not eligible for benefits or
(c) give the landlord powers to check that the tenant is eligible for benefits (presently the landlord doesn't have these powers).

Nobody should be surprised that there is a shortage of rental stock and nobody should be surprised that market rents are rising. That was a situation created by government, not by landlords.


15:51 PM, 25th May 2023, About A year ago

in a word

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