London retained the top spot as the most expensive region for renters at the end of the last decade, with the average monthly rent costing almost twice the national average (excluding London), according to the new Rental Index from SpareRoom.
London renters saw their monthly rent bills stay relatively flat, at £783, but this was substantially higher than those for renters across the UK as a whole – in the rest of the country, across the UK as a whole, renters paid just £484.
Rental bills shrank across the UK (including London), falling 3 per cent, from £599 per month in late 2018 to £580 per month in late 2019.
London renters feel the heat
SpareRoom compared and contrasted all UK regions using a rental price heatmap, with London average room rents inclusive of bills far exceeding those of other regions. On a more local level, places such as Twickenham were found to have some of the highest rents of any town, with an average room rent of £684 in late 2019.
In comparison, the Scottish Border town of Galashiels was home to some of the cheapest rents of any UK town, at just £266 per month.
Rental price inflation was noted in places such as Nottingham, where bills rose 5 per cent in a single year, and Blackpool, where average room rents jumped 6 per cent in the last year. Despite this, both towns had rents between £386 and £444 per month, below the national average.
London Mayor keen to control rents
One of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s key policies for the 2020 London Mayoral election is his commitment to introducing rent controls for the capital. This comes after he published a blueprint document in July 2019, laying out how the London Mayor could introduce these controls.
However, organisations such as the National Landlords Association (NLA) criticised the move last summer, calling the idea “contradictory and at worst, deluded.”
Mr Khan proposed controlling rents, in order to rein in what he perceived to be unaffordable levels of rental price inflation.
Ideas about a rent cap have proved popular with many, after a petition on the website 38 Degrees garnered over 75,000 signatures, arguing that a rental cap should be introduced, ensuring that no Londoner should pay more than £200 per week on rent.
Critics of such a proposal, such as the NLA are concerned that a rental cap would make it harder for London-based landlords to turn a profit, and seemingly had no regard for how they might cover costs they incur through providing properties for rent.
The London Mayoral election is to be held in early May, with Mr Khan seeking to win a second term as London’s second Labour London Mayor, against Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey.
Despite Labour failing to win the general election last month, support for the party in the capital remains strong, as Labour managed to win 49 out of 73 seats in the capital. This suggests Mr Khan could face an easier time being returned to office, than Mr Corbyn had, trying to become Prime Minister last month.