From our survey of private renters in Southwark, we found that tenants pay an average of 43% of their income in rent and some people’s rent was as high as 70-80% of their income. The housing sector tends to classify housing costs as unaffordable if they are set at 35% or above of net income. We found that well over half of respondents struggle to pay their rent.
“It costs a lot of money! We often struggle for basic items.”
Twenty-two per cent of private tenants had also experienced sudden large increases in rent.
“Our rent has just gone up from £800 to £900pcm after only a year. We asked him to reconsider but were told in no uncertain terms that £900 was the new price.”
“I tried to question my increase in rent one year and suddenly there were people visiting my home to ‘view’ it as unbeknown to me he had put it back on the market.”
Difficulty in getting deposits back when they left was another problem experienced by a fifth of respondents and 16% of tenants’ landlords, illegally, had not put their deposits in a deposit protection scheme. A further 27% of respondents did not know if their deposit was in such a scheme or not. We found many cases of tenants’ having difficulty getting their deposit back.
“I had to threaten to take a landlord to court as they would not return any deposit or return calls.”
“It’s a struggle to get a deposit as our old deposit is rarely returned to us for a while.”
Ninety-five per cent of respondents thought there should be limits on how much rent can increase a year. Southwark Tenants campaigns for fair rents. We believe that rent controls are the only way to deliver fair rents.