Official Government data has shown that across England private sector rents did not increase in real terms in the year to March 2013.
Figures published by the Valuation Office Agency show that in the year to March 2013, rents increased by 2.7 per cent. Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, stood at 2.8 per cent during the same period.
One exception was in the London Borough of Newham where rents increased over this period by almost 15 per cent, representing an average £135 increase. This follows the Council introducing the first borough wide licencing scheme in January and warnings of the extra costs this would impose on tenants.
Commenting on the results, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward said: “Whilst the perception, fed by some organisations, is that rents are somehow spiralling out of control, this official data clearly shows they are in fact staying steady. The fact remains that in tough financial times for tenants and landlords alike, many landlords are being prepared to take a hit on their rents rather than increase them and be left with empty properties.”
Noting the figures from the London Borough of Newham, Alan continued: “Whilst the reasons for increases in Newham’s rents are various, given how close it is to the cost of licences at £150 it would be hard not to conclude that many landlords are simply passing on the costs of licences to their tenants.
“Newham and other local authorities considering them would do well to scrap licences altogether and introduce a proper system of robust accreditation for the good landlords. As we have consistently argued, this frees the council to target and properly go after those criminal landlords operating under the radar who bring misery to tenants lives.
“Quite simply, licencing increases costs on tenants and landlords and does nothing about those landlords who just don’t come forward to get themselves licenced.”