‘Ren­tquake’ bites with price surge af­ter­shock

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS - by Radar re­porter mes­sen­gernews@thek­m­group.co.uk @KM_news­room

Rental prop­er­ties in Maid­stone are be­com­ing less af­ford­able, as soar­ing rental costs have out­paced house­hold in­come growth.

Data from Shel­ter shows rental rates across Eng­land have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly more than house­hold in­comes since 2011, with the hous­ing char­ity call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to build more af­ford­able homes to meet the grow­ing need for rea­son­able rents.

While tra­di­tion­ally seen as a Lon­don con­cern, in re­cent years the so-called ‘ren­tquake’ has started to spread from the cap­i­tal to towns and cities across the coun­try.

In Maid­stone, the av­er­age rental cost of a two-bed­room home in­creased 23% be­tween 2011 and 2017 – out­pac­ing the growth in house­hold in­come, which rose by just 11%.

In the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year, the av­er­age monthly rent of a two-bed­room home in Maid­stone cost £833.

Shel­ter has called on the gov­ern­ment to come up with a new plan for so­cial hous­ing, en­sur­ing peo­ple on low in­come jobs can find some­where af­ford­able to live and re­duce the com­pe­ti­tion in the pri­vate rented sec­tor.

Greg Beales, the cam­paign direc­tor at Shel­ter, said: “With this surge in pri­vate renters the hous­ing mar­ket has shifted mas­sively and yet as a coun­try we’ve failed to re­spond.

“We need politi­cians of all par­ties to sit up and take no­tice and do all they can to pro­tect renters.”

Last week con­tro­ver­sial Maid­stone land­lord Fer­gus Wil­son ramped up rent pay­ments by £50 per month. This af­fected 400 homes and came within hours of a Bank of Eng­land’s 0.25% in­ter­est rate rise.

The 69-year-old said it was to pass onto tenants the ad­di­tional mort­gage charge.

Of the es­ti­mated 23.1 mil­lion house­holds in Eng­land in 201617, the pri­vate rented sec­tor ac­counted for 4.7 mil­lion, or 20%, of house­holds.

Across Eng­land, the pro­por­tion of house­hold in­come spent on rent by pri­vate renters has in­creased to 41%. But mort­gaged house­holds spend on av­er­age 19% of in­come on hous­ing.

Rents are ris­ing and have reached an av­er­age in Maid­stone of £833 for a two-bed home

Pic­ture: John Westhrop 3545667

Fer­gus Wil­son who hiked prices last week by £50-a-month

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