The RLA is today calling on the industry and the Government to establish a common survey of the level of rents following an investigation showing a chasm between different rent surveys.
A report for Residential Property Investor, the official publication of the Residential Landlords Association, has established that the large number of different rent indices puts average UK rents in the private rented sector anywhere between £682 a month, reported by letting agents Belvoir, and £1,974 by the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).
According to the Government’s official data from the Valuation Office Agency however, average rents across England in the 12 months to September 2012 stood at £705, an increase of just 1.3 per cent on the 12 months before, significantly lower than the rate of inflation as measured by both the Consumer Price and Retail Price Indices.£682 a month, reported by letting agents Belvoir, and £1,974 by the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).
When looking at London the disparities become even bigger, with LSL quoting average rents in the capital at just over £1,100, and ARLA putting the figure for central London rents at over £4,100.
With seven of the rental indices in the UK compiled by lettings agents with a self-interest in exaggerating rental income to encourage landlords to use them, the RLA is calling on the Government and the industry to establish a single, clear, rent level survey that gives all sides a credible basis from which to make future decisions affecting the sector.
Commenting on the findings, Alan Ward, Chair of the Residential Landlords Association, who will today given evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry on the Private Rented Sector said, “When making policy it is vital that ministers have clear and authoritative data from which to make their decisions.
“As there is a great deal of media and political attention focussed on the private rented sector given its increasing size and concern over the impact of major reforms to housing benefits, it is worrying that ministers are making decisions based on unreliable and often widely different data.
“In the interests of good policy and to ensure public confidence in data on private rents, there needs to be one rental level index in which all parties can have complete confidence and which no longer gets driven by the commercial interests of lettings agents.”