There are currently nearly five million private tenants in the UK and many have likely seen their rent rise over the past 12 months, with some reporting hikes of a few hundred pounds. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ellie, a property manager at a rental agency in Manchester, said the current rental market is “out of control” and “completely unsustainable”, warning that it is tenants who are suffering. As part of her job, Ellie manages approximately 300 properties in the city center and acts as a third party between landlord and tenant managing pre-lease requirements, arranging renewals and rent increases and organizing building maintenance and repairs.
For tenants facing rent increases, before even considering a response, Ellie recommended that they first check their tenancy agreement and see what has already been agreed.
She said: “In most rental contracts there will most likely be a clause stating that the rent can only be increased once a year and that it will either be by a fixed percentage or in accordance with the market value.”
At Ellie’s rental agency, this amount is set as a percentage, however, she explained that rental agents usually offer the price increase to renters first to see if they are willing to accept it. .
Ellie said: “You can say no to that, and in my experience with fixed percentage contracts, we will reduce that lower and lower until we reach the increased price stated in the contract. Renters usually agree to one of the higher prices, so they really need to check that out before agreeing to anything.
With contracts that quote “in line with market value”, Ellie says it’s harder to manage, but overall the increase has to be called “reasonable”. Thus, with these contracts, tenants can “open up a discussion” about what a reasonable increase is. perhaps.
Ellie suggested that once the discussion is open, renters should first check sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla to check prices in the area and whether the proposed increase is in line with it. They should also check when the last increase was, because legally landlords cannot raise the rent more than once every 12 months.
She also said that the condition of the property and whether there was any damage or mold, as these can be important factors in these types of discussions and rental agents and landlords should not reject everything that is mentioned on this subject.
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She added: “Honestly tenants say the front door is slightly broken, there are no double glazed windows or the decor is dated, these are all factors that we as As agents, look when we value an apartment so that they are the factors that should be used in an argument regarding the price of rent.
Ellie added that maintenance work and the time it takes for the work to be done should be “100%” emphasized by tenants in their negotiations with landlords.
She said: ‘We have landlords on our books who refuse to do things and if tenants are constantly reporting issues and nothing is being done then they have every right to turn around and say, well, we have had a boiler break for three months now, why should we now have to pay a rent increase? »
Ellie noted that at present landlords still have the option of serving notices under Section 21, and for this reason people may be nervous about fighting an increase.
Government legislation announced the abolition of Section 21 notices or “no-fault evictions” in the Tenant Reform White Paper released in June this year. It was coined “no-fault eviction” because landlords do not need to give a reason to evict the tenant.
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She added: “Tenants can legally do this because after a one-year contract they usually automatically switch to a rolling contract. If it’s through a continuing contract, things can get more difficult because all the landlord has to do in that case is serve what’s called a notice under section 13, which is a notice of a month for the rent to go up, which is much harder to fight. against because it is no longer a request, it is a legal document.
In terms of rent reduction, Ellie explained that tenants have the right to request one if there is a problem with the apartment that affects the quality of life and differs from the contract originally signed.
She added: “If you signed up for an apartment with a balcony and the balcony door broke and you couldn’t get in, you don’t get what you signed up for in the contract and it would be perfectly fair to ask for a reduction.
“We see this very often due to coating issues, as scaffolding has gone up and caused tenants to lose their parking spaces or balcony space, so we don’t even blink twice when a request comes in. Most landlords give maybe £50-100 a month a discount in some cases and agree to do that nine times out of 10.”
The average asking price for an average rental property in the UK currently stands at £1,126 per month, around £177 more than at the same time in 2020.
London has seen a 15.8 per cent increase over the past year, pushing the average asking rent to a record £2,257.
According to Cornerstone Tax, the “catalytic” reason for rising rental prices isn’t really the cost of living, but a shortage of available inventory alongside a significant increase in demand.
David Hannah, group chairman of the company, said: “There is hope that more available properties will enter the UK housing market, thus causing a more manageable level of supply and demand and subsequently halting the rapid rise in rental prices.
“Hopefully a solution to the global supply problems will lead to an increase in the supply of new build, providing the UK housing market with much needed additional stock, which should subsequently halt these rapid increases.”
Ellie agrees with that reason adding, “Since the lockdowns ended we have had a massive increase in people looking for rental accommodation and it is understandable after what people have been through during the pandemic that they want to leave their parents’ house or move into their own. space rather than a flatshare, but we haven’t seen a drop since – it’s just getting busier.
“I said it’s not sustainable and if something isn’t put in place to regulate it we’re going to see prices go up so high that people will be locked out of renting as well as buying properties. ‘a house.”