An experimental price index tracking rents paid to private landlords has been produced by the Office of National Statistics – the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP).    The trend shown is an upwards one from 2011-2017, with rents rising most in London.  However, the new index may not be giving the full picture.  Firstly, the statistics exclude rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which is a growing part of the private rented sector, particularly for students and young professionals.  Secondly, there is evidence that some private landlords are avoiding declaring income earned from let property and these may not be included.Private rental costs Jan 2011 to July 2017 (source ONS).

Private rental costs Jan 2011 to July 2017 (source ONS).

“Between January 2011 and July 2017, private rental prices in Great Britain increased by 15.0%, strongly driven by the historical growth in private rental prices within London. When London is excluded, private rental prices increased by 10.9% over the same period” IPHRP webpage August 2017

The Valuation Office reports ‘all’ monthly rents recorded between 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 for the North East of England show median rents in the region varying from £433 in Hartlepool to £625 in Newcastle [Maps page 3].  However, the North East had the lowest median rent at £495.  London had the highest median monthly rents and largest variation in rental values, followed by the South East.  The median rent in London (£1,495) was more than double the English median rent [Summary April 2016-March 2017].

Totally accurate statistics for private rentals, compared to those for council housing, may be difficult to get.  Newham council in London estimates the tax collectors may be losing £200m a year in London alone after finding half its 27,000 landlords had failed to register for self-assessment [The Guardian 13 Aug 2017].

“HMRC’s Let Property Campaign was launched in 2014 amid concerns that up to 1m buy-to-let landlords are not declaring their rental income. HMRC said at the time that it believed landlords were avoiding around £550m in tax, although Newham’s experience may suggest that the figure could be much higher.” The Guardian 13 Aug 2017

Last edited 3rd Sep 2017.

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