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UK private tenants 'get raw deal' with highest rents in Europe - claim

Private rents in the UK are the highest in Europe despite having amongst the least secure tenancies - that it the controversial conclusion of an analysis by the National Housing Federation. 

The NHF says UK rents average £750 per month in comparison to the European average of £400. In countries like Germany and Holland, where earnings are similar, private rents are around 50 per cent cheaper than in the UK. 

UK rents also take up the largest share in Europe of people’s pay, the NHF claims. 

Private renters spend almost 40 per cent of their income on paying their rent in comparison to the European average of 28 per cent. Around 23 minutes of every hour worked is spent on rent; elsewhere in Europe, it is apparently 17 minutes.

The federation also says the UK rental market has the shortest tenancies in Europe. Across Europe, 43 per cent of renters had moved in the last five years while in Britain the figure was 77 per cent. 

The NHF also says that by European standards, the UK has persistently underinvested in housing. 

Between 1996 and 2011 in the UK, just 3.0 per cent of national GDP was invested in housing, compared to 6.0 in Germany and 5.0 in France. 

“British renters get a raw deal in comparison to their continental counterparts. High rents are just one symptom of the housing crisis, we are simply not building enough due to under investment and problems with the land market“ says NHF chief executive David Orr.

Other findings from the analysis include the fact that people living in house shares are typically spending 55 per cent of their income on rent; in London some 49 per cent of private tenants consider themselves to be ‘overburdened’ by their rent which takes up two-fifths or more of their income; and 72 per cent of private renters work, in comparison to 62 per cent of owner-occupiers.

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