25% of private tenants cutting back on food and heating to pay rising rents (#UK #Austerity #bedroomtax)

pritenrentFrom The Guardian

Some people in private rental accommodation are having to cut back on food and heating to cope with rising rents, according to research by the National HousingFederation (NHF).

The organisation, which represents housing associations across England, said soaring rents and high deposits were making life increasingly difficult for those locked out of homeownership.

In a survey of 1,183 private tenants it found that 41% of those with children had struggled to pay their rent at least once. Across all tenant households, 31% had been in difficulties.

More than a quarter of the families surveyed said they had cut back on buying food to meet their housing costs, and just under a quarter had cut back on heating.

The high cost of property and stricter lending criteria on mortgages have pushed the number of private tenants to the highest level in 40 years, and the rising demand has in turn pushed up rents.

Although recent figures from the letting agents Your Move and Reeds Rains showed a fall in monthly costs for tenants in November across England and Wales as a whole, they also showed that in the east of England, East Midlands and London tenants were paying more than ever before. In London, the index put the average monthly rent at £1,167.

The NHF said there were signs that high rents were putting an emotional strain on private tenants, with 31% saying they worried that their rent would increase, making it hard to afford. One in seven (15%) said they had suffered stress or anxiety about rising rents in the last 12 months.

The group called on the government to provide more affordable homes for families on low and middle incomes. Its chief executive, David Orr, said: “We have too many renters just keeping their heads above water, who are being kept awake at night and suffering from stress over the worry of paying the next rent bill.

“The government needs to come up with a bolder, long-term plan for housebuilding so that families across the country can find the homes they need, at a price they can afford.”

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that just under 43,000 affordable homes were created in England in the year to the end of March, the lowest number since 2006.

A growing number are being built as “affordable rented housing” which can be let for up to 80% of the market rates. The government’s plans for housebuilders to put up 100,000 starter homes that would available to buyers under the age of 40 at a 20% discount on the normal market cost will allow developers to reduce the amount of affordable housing they are required to supply on new projects.

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