The UK’s Rental Crisis: Soaring Demand, Limited Supply, and Skyrocketing Rent
In the UK, the rental market is in crisis. Renters are finding it harder than ever to secure suitable accommodation, with bidding wars, mould, evictions, and personality contests making the process even more challenging. The number of available places is shrinking, causing rent to go up at the fastest rate on record. As a result, renting in the UK has become entirely unfair and unmanageable.
With more than three and a half million people in England having their rent raised in the last year alone by an average of £115 per month, the UK’s rental crisis is taking a significant toll on renters. According to one property site, a single renter spends more than a third of their income on rent, leaving them little left over for other essentials.
So, what is causing the rental crisis in the UK? A chronic under-supply of new build housing is a significant issue. Rising demand when COVID-19 hit saw many people leave city centres. However, when they returned, rents began to rise. General household growth and a growing population only add to the problem. In short, it’s a perfect storm, and it’s the renters who are caught in the middle.
Many campaigners are calling for an emergency rent freeze, similar to the one recently introduced in Scotland. However, some experts argue that a rent freeze may not be a long-term solution. According to Peter Kemp, a housing policy researcher, “a seductive idea but actually misguided. The supply will go down even further back existing landlords will get out, new landlords won’t come in, so you have to find a solution that’s a bit of a compromise that enables landlords to make a reasonable profit but not an excessive one.”
The National Labour Election plans to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill in this Parliament. However, it could take years for any changes to take effect. In the meantime, renters are struggling to find suitable accommodation and are settling for poor conditions or sticking it out at home with family.
The rental crisis has taken a significant toll on renters’ mental health, with many experiencing anxiety, sleepless nights, and a sense of being trapped. Jess, who left her job in Cambridge to study for a master’s degree in Manchester, found herself unable to secure a suitable rental property. She turned to house-share websites but was left exhausted by the experience. “I almost made my peace with the fact that I could never buy a house, but now you can’t even move to a new town. That makes me feel so trapped. I just feel like I’m not making the most of life.”
The UK’s rental crisis is an incredibly complex problem and will require a multifaceted solution. While implementing an emergency rent freeze may provide temporary relief, it may not be a lasting answer. To tackle the root of the issue, more affordable housing must be constructed across the country. Offsite construction provides a promising solution; this involves building homes in factories and then transporting them to their final location, resulting in lower costs, faster construction times, and higher-quality builds.
The National Labour Election’s Renters’ Reform Bill marks an important step towards addressing the rental crisis in the UK. However, more must be done to support renters and increase the housing supply. By working together, policymakers, landlords and tenants can come together to find a sustainable solution for everyone involved. It is also essential to note that this issue has a significant impact on renters’ mental health and well-being – action must be taken now if we are to avoid further distress in this already fragile situation. Offsite construction is an effective technique that could provide much-needed affordable housing for those who need it most.
In conclusion, the rental crisis in the UK is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. Renters are struggling to secure suitable accommodation, facing soaring demand, limited supply, and skyrocketing rent. A rent freeze may not be a long-term solution, and the chronic under-supply of new build housing needs to be addressed. The National Labour Election’s Renters’ Reform Bill could be a step in the right direction. However, renters need help now to ensure that they can find suitable accommodation and move forward with their lives.
Research; Channel 4. Producers: Frances Rankin & Milena Dambelli Executive Producer: Kieron Bryan
Get help with renting costs: Citizens Advice Link