Private rents in England are rising by an average of almost £300 a year, according to Shelter.
In one area in the south-east, Elmbridge, rents have gone up over £2,000 in a year.
The organisation says that as a result, many tenants are in a ‘rent trap’ with little or nothing left to save for a home of their own.
‘The Rent Trap’, a new report from Shelter, analyses Government figures to find that average private rents rose by 2.8% from 2011 to 2012, equivalent to an increase of £297 in a year on a typical rented home. In the same period, the average wage in England did not rise at all.
In one in seven local authorities (14%) across the country, rents rose by the equivalent of more than £500 in a year. In six local authority areas, there were rent rises of more than £1,500 in a year, with rents in Surrey Heath and Elmbridge rising at the fastest rate.
A survey of 4,300 renters commissioned by Shelter found that more than half (55%) say that after paying for rent and essential bills, they have just £100 or less left over each month for everything else.
Three in four renters (72%) say that they are only able to put aside £50 or less each month, while more than half (58%) say they are not able to save any money at all.
The areas in England with the fastest rising rents are Surrey Heath (14.1% rise equivalent to £1,756 per year); Elmbridge (14.1% rise of £2,178); Merton, London (13.7%, £1,805); Rutland (11.6%, £859); Wandsworth (11.4%, £1,845); Gravesham, south-east (11.1%, £823); Warwick (11%, £799); West Oxfordshire (10.8%, £1,096); South Bucks (10.3%, £1,736); Lambeth (9.8%, £1,477).
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “This report reveals the huge scale of the rent trap holding back young people and families up and down the country.
“Rising rents are leaving people with little or nothing to save at the end of each month, giving them little chance of ever saving enough to climb on to the property ladder.
“The renters we speak to have never been less hopeful. A relentless stream of rent rises means that most feel they will never move on from a life paying ‘dead money’ to landlords, in a home that they can’t make their own. And for some, rising rents have more immediate consequences – not enough money to spend on food, fuel or other essentials.
“Unless something changes, the chances of the next generation getting a home to call their own look increasingly bleak.
“The Government needs to show young people and families exactly how it plans to dismantle the rent trap for good.”
Shelter used Valuation Office Agency figures for its report.
* On Monday, Kay Boycott of Shelter is due to be appearing before a select committee of MPs.
The director of Shelter’s communications, she will, she says, be telling them about the “state of private renting in our country”.
She has appealed to tenants to get in touch with their experiences, asking them: “Have you had a bad landlord? Been forced to pay huge fees to a letting agent? Have you been unable to find somewhere affordable to rent?”
She adds: “The more evidence we have on how renting must be better, the stronger our evidence will be.”
Although Boycott is only asking for negative stories, there seems no reason why something a little more positive should not be posted up here: