We looked into the percentage of private renters around the country and surveyed renters to find out how satisfied they are. After a slight dip due to COVID-19, demand in the rental market continues to grow in 2022. But where are the best places for landlords and what is life as a tenant like in 2022?
While rental demand is on the up, it’s a great time to purchase a buy-to-let property. For those who are looking to enter the buy-to-let market, where are the best places in the country to target?
The buy-to-let mortgage experts at money.co.uk have looked into the percentage of private renters around the country and surveyed renters to see how satisfied they are.
If you are interested in becoming a private landlord, make sure to compare buy-to-let mortgages to get the best deal.
1. Westminster, London - 42.55% of homes are privately rented
The area with the highest number of renters is Westminster, in London, where 42.55% of homes are privately rented.
With such demand for rental properties, it’s unsurprising that the London rental market is so expensive, and Westminster is one of the capital’s most central boroughs.
The average property in the borough currently costs just shy of a million pounds, so buying outright is out of the question for many.
2. City of London, London - 40.41% of homes are privately rented
The area with the second biggest rental market is also in Central London, with 40.41% of properties in the City of London privately rented.
Again, it’s among the most expensive places for property in the country, with average house prices of £810,106 which leads to higher rental prices.
Also known as the Square Mile, the City is London’s historic centre and home to its financial district and tourist attractions like St. Paul’s Cathedral.
3. Kensington & Chelsea, London - 37.38% of homes are privately rented
Another Greater London borough comes in third place. In fact, each of the top 10 areas with the most renters are located in the capital.
37.38% of homes in Kensington & Chelsea are privately rented and it is also the most expensive area in the country, with properties averaging £1.3 million.
1. North East Derbyshire, East Midlands - 9.69% of homes are privately rented
At the other end of the scale, the area where the fewest people choose to rent their home is North East Derbyshire.
This is the only place in the country where fewer than 10% of homes are privately rented.
The area has undergone significant regeneration since the loss of the coal mining industry, with many former mining areas being turned into business parks.
2. Rochford, East of England - 10.32% of homes are privately rented
In second place is Rochford, located in Essex, where just over 10% of homes are privately rented.
Rochford is a popular commuter town for those working in London, with a direct rail connection to Liverpool Street station.
3. South Staffordshire, West Midlands - 10.57% of homes are privately rented
Another Midlands area comes in third place, with just 10.57% of homes in South Staffordshire being privately rented.
Many of the towns and villages in the area are commuter areas for those working in places like Cannock, Stafford and Telford, and Birmingham further afield.
1. Manchester, North West - 31.36% of homes are privately rented
With each of the top 10 places being located in London, the highest-ranking non-London area is Manchester.
In Manchester, 31.36% of homes are privately rented. One of the North’s major cities, Manchester has a younger population than the national average and has undergone considerable redevelopment in the last 20 years.
2. Brighton & Hove, South East - 31.11% of homes are privately rented
Not far behind Manchester is the city of Brighton and Hove, where around 31% of the homes are privately rented.
Like Manchester, Brighton is one of the country’s major cities, with built-up areas generally tending to have a higher number of renters.
3. Hastings, South East - 29.82% of homes are privately rented
Another seaside town in the South East comes in just behind Brighton, with just under 3 in 10 homes in Hastings being privately rented.
Hastings is best known for the famous battle that took place nearby but has undergone significant regeneration in the last 20 years.
1. Copeland, North West
Average monthly rent: £500
Average monthly income (gross): £2,716
Rent as % of income: 18.41%
The area with the most affordable rent if you’re renting privately is Copeland, in Cumbria. Here, the average person earns £2,716 a month, but the average rental prices are just £500.
The area is home to the Sellafield nuclear site, which attracts highly skilled and paid workers, yet it is still one of the most affordable areas for a property.
2. Allerdale, North West
Average monthly rent: £495
Average monthly income (gross): £2,470
Rent as % of income: 20.04%
The neighbouring area of Allerdale has the next most affordable rent, with rental prices making up around a fifth of monthly income. While rental prices are slightly lower here, so are the average earnings.
Allerdale contains much of the Lake District, including the town of Keswick and the lakes of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite.
3. Barrow-in-Furness, North West
Average monthly rent: £550
Average monthly income (gross): £2,373
Rent as % of income: 23.17%
Another Cumbrian area completes the top 3, with rental prices making up 23.17% of average earnings in Barrow-in-Furness. Rental prices here are a fair bit higher than in the other 2 areas (£550).
A port town known for its shipbuilding, Barrow is home to the UK’s largest shipyard by workforce, which accounts for much of the employment.
1. Kensington and Chelsea, London
Average monthly rent: £2,199
Average monthly income (gross): £3,297
Rent as % of income: 66.69%
While Kensington and Chelsea has the highest monthly earnings in the country (£3,297.17), it also has the highest average rent (£2,716). This means that people renting here pay around two-thirds of their income on rent.
2. Hackney, London
Average monthly rent: £1,600
Average monthly income (gross): £2,433
Rent as % of income: 65.77%
In second place is Hackney, where rent makes up 65.77% of the average monthly income. Hackney has undergone significant gentrification in recent years, attracting many young workers to the area.
Like many other parts of the capital, it also benefited from hosting the 2012 London Olympics, with many of the venues in the borough.
3. Brent, London
Average monthly rent: £1,450
Average monthly income (gross): £2,294
Rent as % of income: 63.20%
Unsurprisingly, another London borough completes the top three least affordable areas for renting.
Average rent prices in Brent are £1,450, which makes up 63.2% of the average monthly income.
Brent has both inner-city and suburban areas and its best-known landmark is Wembley, the country’s largest stadium.
1. Hertsmere, East of England
Average monthly rent: £1,250
Average monthly income (gross): £2,192.17
Rent as % of income: 57.02%
The least affordable area for renters outside of London isn’t too far from the capital.
Hertsmere is located in Hertfordshire, which is just outside of London itself. Average rents here are £1,250 a month, 57.02% of earnings.
2. Epsom and Ewell, South East
Average monthly rent: £1,300
Average monthly income (gross): £2,458.92
Rent as % of income: 52.87%
The second-least affordable area for renters outside the capital is the area surrounding the two Surrey towns of Epsom and Ewell.
Unsurprisingly, like Hertsmere, the area is located right outside of London, with rent making up 52.87% of the average monthly income.
3. Harlow, East of England
Average monthly rent: £1,123
Average monthly income (gross): £2,124.08
Rent as % of income: 52.87%
In joint second place is Harlow, another town that borders London. Harlow was founded as a ‘new town’ after World War II to help ease overcrowding in the capital.
Today it's an important part of the London commuter belt, and has undergone lots of redevelopment.
While we’ve all heard landlord horror stories, it turns out that the majority of renters are actually fairly satisfied with theirs.
Over 80% of surveyed tenants said they were either satisfied (52%) or very satisfied with their landlords (29%). Only 8% actually said they were unsatisfied (7%) or very unsatisfied (1%) with theirs.
This was similar across different ages and genders, but those on higher incomes are less likely to take issue with their landlords.
Those earning between £30,000 and £44,999 were least likely to be very satisfied with their landlords (23%), while 58% of those earning over £200,000 were.
There’s nothing worse than having to wait days or even weeks when you have urgent issues that you need your landlord to resolve.
Most people (43%) said that they usually have to wait between 2 and 3 days for a response from their landlord.
Over 10% had to wait at least a week, while 3% said that their landlord can take over a month to get back to them.
When asked if they believe that their landlord listens to their concerns and acts on them, 1 in 5 tenants said no.
Male tenants were slightly more likely to feel listened to by their landlords than female tenants, at 81% compared to 79%.
18 to 24-year-old tenants felt the most valued by landlords, with 82% answering yes.
Once again, the highest earners showed the best landlord relationships, with 95% of those earning £200,000 or more saying their landlord listened to them.
The majority of people said that their landlord usually takes between 1 and 2 weeks to carry out any household repairs on their rental properties.
However, a considerable amount of tenants (18%) surveyed said that they have to wait at least a month on average.
When looking at those who experienced the longest waits, female tenants usually seem to get the worst deal. 11% of women had to wait over 3 months (compared to 7% of men).
Losing some or all of your rental deposit when your tenancy ends can leave a sour taste. Of those surveyed, 63% of people said that they have lost at least some money to deposits during their time renting.
While many said they had lost less, 15% of people said that they had lost more than £500 while renting.
Men were much more likely to have lost some of their deposit than women, with 68% compared to 60% of female tenants.
18 to 24s are the group most likely to have lost a deposit, with 74% having lost some or all of their deposit, compared to just 38% of those 55 and over.
But 35 to 44-year-olds are most likely to have lost big money, with just under 1 in 5 saying that they’ve lost more than £500.
Although it always helps to be nice, being a good landlord doesn’t just benefit the tenant. When a landlord implements good habits, they can attract and retain great tenants and build a relationship with mutual respect. Here are Money.co.uk’s top tips on how to be a good landlord.
Communication and availability
Set a method of communication and reasonable contact hours. Whether it’s Monday to Friday 9-5, calling a specific work phone number, or contacting via email, make it clear when and how your tenants can get in touch with you and honour that.
Address issues quickly
Establish trust by making sure you are readily available to act quickly and respond to issues. If something legitimately cannot be fixed quickly, at least get the process moving as fast as possible and communicate this to your tenants. It may be your property but it's your tenant's home.
Rentals require a specific budget for repairs, which will inevitably be needed at some stage. You should never put off repair work because you cannot afford to pay for it, as tenants expect you to be responsible for property management. Equally, make sure you hire professionals when needed, especially for elements where regulatory requirements exist, such as gas and electricity maintenance.
Be firm but fair
Nurture a good relationship by maintaining a friendly attitude with tenants, but always keep it professional. This is why it's not recommended to rent a property to friends and family as your rental property should be treated as a business. The best way to be fair and avoid unnecessary disputes around payments or repairs is to be meticulous with documents, reporting and records.
James Perrin, a landlord from Cornwall commented on the struggles which landlords currently face:
“One of the main things we’re struggling with as landlords are the rising maintenance costs of our properties.
“Not only has the price of materials gone up by around 15–20%, but I’m also seeing that the building companies and maintenance companies which I’ve relied on for years have now had to put their rates up due to inflation. With these rising costs, it’s not surprising that many landlords have decided to sell their properties.
“There are other reasons landlords are choosing to sell too, with so much economic uncertainty at the moment and a long-term recession predicted, people don’t want risks. We’re seeing landlords selling up because they’re worried about the potential of a housing market crash.
“Unfortunately though, in areas like Cornwall, there are many landlords who will profit from this because they’ll happily pass their debt to the tenant by raising the rent. There’s a high demand for rental properties here and people need homes, so most tenants don’t have a choice but to pay.”
When deciding whether to rent a property, it’s important to consider how much rent you can afford to pay each month.
Ultimately this depends on your own financial situation, as well as how much you’re willing to commit to rental prices.
The main thing is to ensure that you still have enough left over for other outgoings such as energy bills, food and savings after your rent.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a person earning an average wage can afford to spend around 30% of their income on rent.
You may have seen the abbreviation “PCM” on your rental agreements. When it comes to renting, PCM stands for “per calendar month”.
This shows that your rent will be paid monthly, and how much will be paid each month.
A PCM rental agreement should also tell you what date of the month the rent is due on and whether any bills are included.
Ground rent is defined by the Government as “a property industry term given to a rent that is usually paid annually by owners of residential long leases to their landlord”.
The leasehold system dates all the way back to William the Conqueror and allows the owner of the freehold to charge rent to the occupier. It’s essentially a rent payment that you make for occupying the land that your property is on.
If you’re unhappy with your landlord the best thing to do is speak to them in the first instance. If the problem can’t be solved that way, then there are ways that you can report them.
The first step would be to write a formal letter of complaint explaining the issue and your legal rights. Your local Citizens Advice can help you to do this.
If the problem persists, then you can report the landlord to your local council. To do so you should write a letter outlining the problems and also include a copy of the letter that you sent to your landlord.
In some cases, you may also be able to take legal action, such as if you’re being illegally evicted, discriminated against, harassed, or the landlord won’t return your deposit.
Areas with the most renters
The areas with the highest percentage of privately rented properties, using the Office for National Statistics’ subnational estimates of dwellings by tenure, England.
Most affordable areas
Calculating by taking average monthly rent as a percentage of monthly income in each local authority.
Average rents sourced from the Office for National Statistics’ private rental market summary statistics in England.
Average monthly income for employee jobs sourced by taking the annual income from the Office for National Statistics’ earnings and hours worked, place of residence by local authority: ASHE Table 8 and dividing this by 12.
For this section, the following local authorities were removed due to changes in local authority structures and boundaries:
The following were removed due to a lack of earnings data:
City of London
Isles of Scilly
Survey questions were asked to 2,000 tenants via Pollfish on October 7th, 2022.
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