Londoners facing squeeze as rental prices surge by 22%: ‘It is alarming’

Londoners trying to find a rental property in the capital are now facing record average prices of £571 a week, new research has shown.

According to data from Foxtons, rents in the first nine months of the year have risen by 22 per cent since 2021.

Property website, Rightmove has also reported that rental enquiries have increased by 23 per cent in comparison to last year.

Due to such high demand, renters now face surging bidding wars with other potential tenants or being asked for large sums of money up front in order to secure the property.

Speaking to the Standard, Daniel O’Sullivan, 41, a self-employed composer, needed to move properties quickly after separating from his wife – due to his fluctuating income he has at times needed universal credit support.

With the added pressure of finding a secure environment for his two children, Mr O’Sullivan found a property in Upper Norwood in February.

He said: “It was very stressful in January. Firstly, there’s the referencing issue where you have to prove that you earn 50k a year. Which to me is absurd.

“A lot wouldn’t accept anyone that received help, so you’re discounted from many places already

“It’s highly selective and geared towards people with higher earnings. It’s highly unsustainable.”

Although the rent cost a surprisingly reasonable £1,400 for a semi-detached house, he was asked for a deposit covering five weeks rent and six months payment up front.

This left him asking money from his family, adding: “I’m still in debt to a member of my family who helped me out - it’s alarming.

“I never thought I’d be in that situation.”

Despite asking for and being assured of a long lease, Mr O’Sullivan soon had photographers visiting the property amid plans to sell it.

He moved to a new property in October but is still yet to receive his previous deposit.

Laurence Russell, a 28-year-old business journalist and organiser for the ACORN Renters Union, moved to Brixton in October 2021 from Crawley where he had been paying £550 a month.

“It was really scary going through the market. I needed to move out quickly and needed to find something soon.

“I viewed properties on an accelerated timescale and I saw a lot of horrific places which I couldn’t see myself going for and many which weren’t in my price range.

“It was scary seeing places and thinking that I would indeed to try and make a life here for the sake of my job.

When his tenancy expired this October, the landlord attempted to raise the rent from £1,400 for he and his housemate to £1,800.

Although this was reduced to £1,600 after negotiations, he was charged surprising one-off fees for a property which he said had a leak.

“Looking at this rental increase is quite existential because, you suddenly thought the life you had an idea of is not really possible to an extent.

“Me and my housemate have said that we can probably afford the rent for another year but after that, who knows.”