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The News Line: News ‘RENTQUAKE!’ –tenants face unaffordable rents
Tenants demanding social housing and protesting at rent rises that are converting them into the working poor
‘RENTQUAKE’ has hit middle England as rents race above wages in market towns, said housing charity Shelter yesterday. Rents have risen 60% faster than average wages across England according to new research by Shelter.

The new figures released yesterday show that private rents have risen by 16% since 2011, far above average wages which have only risen by 10%. The analysis shows that increasing numbers of people are experiencing a ‘Rentquake’, and are unable to afford soaring rents while their wages stagnate – and the problem is spreading out from London to cities like Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham.

It has also spread to ‘middle England’ market towns and suburbs like Tunbridge Wells, Milton Keynes and Sevenoaks where rents have risen significantly faster than average wages. Shelter blames consecutive governments who have failed to build enough affordable homes to rent to keep up with the surge in renters across the country.

The charity is calling on the government to come up with a new plan for social housing so people on low income jobs can find somewhere affordable to rent, rather than overloading the private rented sector. In addition, Shelter wants to improve the private rented sector by making sure the government’s new three-year tenancies deal for renters is backed up by law and not light-touch incentives.

The charity is not alone. A range of other organisations from across the political spectrum has been vocal on this issue including The Resolution Foundation, Generation Rent and the new Conservative think tank Onward. Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter, said: ‘With this surge in private renters, the housing market has shifted massively and yet as a country we’ve failed to respond.
‘This has resulted in consecutive governments focusing on better-off home owners whilst not doing enough for hard-pressed renters.

‘We need politicians of all parties to sit up and take notice of the rising numbers of renters, and ensure they’re doing all they can to protect them.’ Lauren, mid-40s, is a dance teacher and lives in Lewes in East Sussex. She recently had to move out of the home she’s lived in for 13 years because her rent had risen too far above her salary.

Lauren says: ‘I had to leave my home that I lived in for 13 years because the rent became just too much to stay. ‘My daughter grew up in this area so it’s really tough for her in particular to have to up sticks and start all over again. ‘I just feel like we’re personally living through a real crisis now. It seems completely unfair that even when you work as hard as you can, renting is still completely unaffordable.’


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