Buy to let rents are too high and are locking poorer working families out of finding homes to rent, warns a housing charity.
Rent amounts to a third or more of take home pay in more than half of towns and cities across the country, says Shelter.
The result is almost four out of 10 families with children have cut down on buying food to pay rent.
The Shelter study also revealed that the cost of rents varies widely across the country:
- Rural renters often earning low wages pay higher rents with housing costs more affordable in Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham than North Devon, North Dorset or Herefordshire.
- London has the most expensive rents – a two bedroom home costs £1,360 per month, which is almost two and a half times the average of £568 for the rest of the country.
- Oxford is the most expensive place to rent outside London, with typical rents soaking up 55 per cent of average earnings.
- Cheapest rents are £394 per month in Burnley, Lancashire.
“Private rented homes meet the needs of many tenants, particularly those requiring flexibility and mobility for their work. However, less than half feel that private renting is a good type of housing tenure2 and for many households private renting is not a choice but the only type of housing they can realistically access,” said the report.
Shelter wants the government to stabilise the rental market with policies that bring rents more in line with average earnings.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “We have become depressingly familiar with first time buyers being priced out of the housing market, but the impact of unaffordable rents is more dramatic.
“With no cheaper alternative, ordinary people are forced to cut their spending on essentials like food and heating, or uproot and move away from jobs, schools and families.”