Tenants fear homelessness as rent prices soar across the UK

Prospective tenants trying to rent fear being made homeless because soaring competition among tenants is leaving so many at risk of losing out.

Tenants fear homelessness as rent prices soar across the UK

Prospective tenants trying to rent fear being made homeless because soaring competition among tenants is leaving so many at risk of losing out.

Prospective renters are often finding viewings cancelled at short notice because the property has already been let to someone else, leaving them back at square one for months at a time.

Others are being forced out when their rents increase to unaffordable levels.

The gap between available rental homes and demand has widened this year, partly because rising interest rates have made buyers postpone house purchases, renting instead while they bide their time.

At the same time, landlords have put up rents in response to soaring inflation.

In an interview with The Independent, one London-based estate agent said the increased competition was leading to bidding wars among prospective tenants – and even between different agents working in the same office representing different would-be renters.

“Many prospective tenants are in full-time employment, they’re good tenants, there’s nothing wrong with these people, so it’s heartbreaking for us to have to tell someone they can’t have the flat. It’s not a healthy situation for the market to be in.”

The agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Private landlords are offering a product – they’re not just greedy.”

But tax changes had deterred some people from being landlords, he said, adding that in London at least there was no sign of the rental crisis easing.

Property website Rightmove revealed on Friday that the numbers of people seeking homes to rent were 23% higher in October than in the same month last year.

Demand from prospective tenants nationally has increased every month since May 2020, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says.

But there were 26& fewer homes available to rent in July-September than the pre-pandemic average, according to Rightmove. In London, the shortfall was even greater, at 30%.

Ms Mitchell, 52, was left in the dark as to the magic formula for being accepted by a landlord but she says she suspects favoured tenants are professional couples over 25 without children.

Homelessness charities say they fear a surge in numbers of people with nowhere to live, being forced out of their rental properties by the cost-of-living crisis and rising rents.

Earlier this month Shelter warned that this winter could be one of the toughest yet.

Its emergency helpline has been receiving more than 1,000 calls a day, with 70% of callers saying soaring costs are making their housing situation worse.

Private rents have reached record highs. According to Savills, average UK rents were 14% above their pre-pandemic level by August this year.