Cost of renting tops £1,000 a month in all but two London boroughs

Rent rises in the past year mean the cost of renting a two-bedroom flat in most London boroughs is now more than £1,000 a month.
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The cost of renting a two-bedroom flat has topped £1,000 in all but two London boroughs, according to a new study by Zoopla. The only areas where Generation Rent can hope to find a home for less than four figures are Havering in east London and Bexley in the south-east, with average monthly rents of £947 and £928 respectively.

Rent rises in the past year mean that average rents on two-bedroom flats in a quarter of London’s boroughs now top £2,000 a month, according to the study.

It found that in Westminster the average two-bedroom rent stands at £4,174, while rents in the City, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith and Fulham and Southwark all top £2,000 a month.

The cost of family homes for older Generation Renters is equally steep. The least expensive option is Bexley, at £1,504 a month - one of only nine boroughs where it is possible to rent a four-bedroom house for less than £2,000 a month. The others are Enfield, Newham, Hillingdon, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham.
At the top end are Westminster (£11,224), Kensington and Chelsea (£9,096) and Camden (£6,348).

Antonia Bance, head of campaigns at housing charity Shelter, said that a two-pronged approach was needed to help renters. “London needs around 50,000 new homes a year to meet demand,” she said. “Last year, 18,000 were built. The reason rents are so high is that there is such immense competition in London.” 

However, Bance estimated that it could take two decades to create enough homes for London’s needs. In the immediate term, she advocated the introduction of mandatory five-year tenancies to give security to renters and that rents should not rise by more than the rate of inflation. Under her proposals, tenants would be allowed to give two months’ notice on a property, but landlords could only end a contract if tenants failed to pay their rent or indulged in anti-social behaviour - or if the landlord wanted to sell the property.

About one in five London families rent their home and Bance said it was “outrageous” that so many children were living in short-term homes. “This would calm a really overheated market and would stabilise rents,” she said. “It would also give renters some breathing space and some proper security.”

Meanwhile, a study by HomeLet found that the average cost of renting a home in Greater London stands at £1,316 - three times more than in the North East and up by more than seven per cent in the last year.

Since the current London average take-home monthly salary is £2,603, this means that Londoners are for the first time spending half their disposable incomes on living costs. Unless wages rise substantially by 2016, this ratio will increase as rents in London are predicted to reach an average of £1,625 a month within the next two years.  

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