London rents unaffordable

28 March 2012

A family

Renting a two-bedroom home in London is unaffordable for families earning less than £52,000, Shelter has revealed today.

Almost one in four London families now rents from a private landlord – an increase of 70 per cent in the past two years.

Rent Watch London, part of Shelter's Homes for London campaign, looks at how much families would need to earn to be able to affordably rent a typical two-bedroom home.

It found that a family would need to take home almost £3,500 each month, equivalent to a yearly pre-tax salary of £52,000. In eight London boroughs, including Hackney and Tower Hamlets, families would need to earn more than £60,000 a year.

The rate of inflation on private rents in London was seven per cent in 2011, almost double the rate of inflation on the average London wage, indicating that family budgets are set to be squeezed even further as rent rises consistently outstrip inflation.

With the typical London household income less than £35,000, Shelter is warning that growing numbers of families are at crisis point, paying up to half of their income in rent each month as they struggle to continue living and working in the capital.

Shelter’s Homes for London campaign is demanding the next Mayor uses their influence to make housing a top priority, and stand up for London’s renters by brokering a better deal for them which protects families from the capital’s out-of-control rental market.

Shelter's Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: ‘These findings paint a worrying picture of thousands of families across the capital being stretched to the limit by the high cost of renting, praying they won’t be hit by another rent rise that could tip them over the edge.

‘With so many Londoners locked out of home ownership, more and more families have no other option but to rent. But rents are now so out of touch with wages that some families are spending over half of their income just to keep a roof over their head, leaving little left for food, fuel and other essentials.  

‘London’s renters will be looking to the next Mayor to fix London’s out-of-control rental market, and give them some stability and predictability with their housing costs.

‘By joining our campaign Londoners can find out the real cost of renting where they live, and challenge the mayoral candidates about what they would do to address London’s growing housing crisis.’