Over one third of landlords are planning rent rises already this year, with around a quarter set to inflict an inflation busting 3% hike on struggling tenants a new survey has revealed.
The stark warning was issued by letting agents Spareroom, who also recently revealed that rents for rooms in shared houses had rocketed by a staggering 7% in the last year.
Average rents across the UK were 4.7% higher in December than a year previously according to the Homelet Rental Index. This makes a mockery of internet con-man and Tory Party Chairman Grants Shapps’ claim last year that rents are falling due to welfare reforms.
In fact it is tenant’s wages which are falling, by on average 0.3% over the year according to Homelet.
With the bedroom tax and benefit cap to come into force this April a perfect storm is brewing which could lead to unprecedented homelessness. MPs voting through the freeze on benefits last night mean it is possible any explosion in homelessness this year will just be the tip of the iceberg.
Housing Benefits, a benefit available to those in and out of work alike – as well as parents, pensioners and disabled people – will only rise at 1% from 2014, no matter what happens to the rental market. With falling or stagnating wages, cuts to other benefits and soaring rents, this will create an ongoing catastrophe in the lives of the very poorest.
Every year people with almost nothing will see incomes squeezed as they attempt to pay ever increasing rent rises out of slashed benefits or poverty pay. This can only lead to one thing, and for many tenants that will mean the streets.
As greedy landlords cash in on the ongoing housing crisis, the Government seem intent on making things worse. The appalling lack of social housing is one reason that rents are out of control, a shortage caused by the right-to-buy policies which began under the Tory Party in the 80s.
Astonishingly Inside Housing this week reported that the Housing Minister Mark Prisk is throwing tax payer’s cash around like confetti in a bid to extend the scheme. Almost £1 million has been spent on marketing and mail shots to social housing tenants encouraging them to buy their properties.
Already polls show that the public is finally turning against the escalating war on the poor. Homelessness is one of the most visible signs of both poverty and a fractured society. Few will forgive this Government when they see for themselves the carnage that has been created in so many people’s lives.
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid