RENTERS paid a combined £59.1billion during 2018, which is the first time in over a decade that the country’s total rental bill has shrunk.
Across Britain, the total rental bill of £59.1billion for private tenants was £1.9billion less than in 2017 when it stood at £57.2billion.
According to estate agent Hamptons International, this is the first annual fall since its records started in 2008.
It says the fall has been driven by a drop in the number of households renting and a slowing down of rental price hikes.
The only areas of Britain to see increases in the total rent bill over the past year were the East Midlands and the North East of England – everywhere else saw a fall.
London saw the biggest decrease, with renters in the capital paying a combined £20.6billion – £620million less than in 2017.
How to haggle with your landlord and bring down your rent
HERE’S how to cut the cost of your monthly rent:
1. Know your rights – If an agent is asking you to pay fees that aren’t listed on its site, threaten to tell the Property Ombudsman. Estate agents are required to display their fees on their website.
2. Ditch the middleman – A sure fire way of avoiding letting agent fees is ditching them altogether and dealing directly with the landlord.
There are sites such as OpenRent, SpareRoom and Gumtree which link private landlords with tenants, bypassing letting agents, so renters won’t have to pay any fees.
3. Come to a fair agreement – When you first sign your tenancy agreement with your landlord your rent should be agreed either in writing or verbally.
To increase your rent your landlord must send you a section 13 notice which gives you a month’s notice in writing telling you how much your rent will be increased by and the date when your rent will go up.
At this stage you should try to talk to your landlord and come to a fair agreement on how much rent you should pay.
Your landlord can only raise your rent if you agree to the increased price.
4. Haggle – Matt Hutchinson, communications director for flatsharing website SpareRoom.com says that if you are a good tenant then you’ve got bargaining power.
“The first thing to bear in mind is that demand is lower at the moment than over the past couple of years.
“That means you’ve got a bit more bargaining power, especially if you’ve been a good tenant, as your landlord won’t want the expense and hassle of having to find another tenant and even potentially face a period with the property empty.
“Failing that, it’s worth seeing if you can get anything thrown in with a rent increase, such as minor bits of redecorating or any bills.”
Landbay has a free rent check service to see how much rent you should be paying in your area.
See How to challenge a rent hike for more information on your rights.
But it’s a different story when you look at how much renters have paid over the past 10 years.
Since 2008, every region in Great Britain has experienced an increase in rent.
The biggest rise in the amount of rent paid by tenants was in London, where the total rental bill grew by £10.53billion over the 10-year period.
Wales has seen the smallest rise in the total amount of rent paid by tenants over the last decade, up by just £70million in comparison.
And while the cost of rent has been stalling – average rents across Great Britain rose by 0.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 2.4 per cent in 2017 – Hamptons warns that, in the capital, rents are starting to rise again.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “Over the last 12 months rental growth in Great Britain has slowed.
“The slowdown over the last year was mainly driven by London, but rents are now gradually starting to rise again in the capital.
“Meanwhile the South East and South West both recorded falling rents last month.”
This comes on top of the £154million renters currently pay in tenant fees.
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