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Opinion
Marcus Ashworth

Britain's Cost-of-Living Crisis Petrifies Tenants

Rising rental costs are making unlikely allies of tenants and landlords.

Tenants and landlords are working things out.

Tenants and landlords are working things out.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The UK cost-of-living crisis is becoming increasingly apparent to people, in the growing gap between the wages they earn and what they spend on groceries and fuel bills. But it is also squeezing the most vulnerable in another less visible but no less fundamental part of life — rent. Happily, there are signs both renters and landlords are finding solutions to work round the crunch without the need for ham-fisted government intervention. 

Britain’s private rental market is on fire amid surging accommodation costs and limited availability. According to property portal Rightmove Plc, the demand for leased homes versus the available supply is at its "most competitive ever.” In London, where rents had plummeted the most during the pandemic exodus to the country, the average monthly outlay for a dwelling is up 14% during the past year to more than 2,200 pounds ($2,700). A quarterly survey released Tuesday by Zoopla Ltd., another property portal, shows a similar picture, with London rents up 15.7% annually. Housing costs in the rest of the country, excluding London, are rising at a record pace of 11%, according to Rightmove, with a ratio of more than three times the number of willing renters to properties listed. It's a jungle out there.