According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom property in England was £1,256 in September, up 7.6% from a year ago.
This is the highest annual increase since the series began in 2011. The rise in rents has been driven by a combination of factors, including a shortage of supply, high demand, low interest rates, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the housing market.
Many tenants are struggling to afford their rent, especially in London and the South East, where rents are more than twice the national average. Some tenants have been forced to move out of their homes, or to share with others, or to cut back on other essential expenses.
The situation has also raised concerns about the quality and safety of rented accommodation, as some landlords may neglect repairs or maintenance, or exploit vulnerable tenants.
The government has introduced some measures to help tenants, such as extending the ban on evictions until March 2024, and increasing the local housing allowance. However, many housing experts and campaigners argue that these are not enough, and that more radical reforms are needed to address the root causes of the problem. They call for more investment in social and affordable housing, stronger regulation of the private rental sector, and a cap on rent increases.