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Tenants have worked all year so far just to pay rent, claims BBC

Private rental sector tenants have spent the year so far working only to pay for their accommodation, the BBC claims. 

The broadcaster says that a middle income earner in England would work 86 days to rent a average two-bedroom home, five more than in 2011; by contrast in Scotland and Wales the number of working days needed to cover their rent fell to 79 and 71 days respectively.

These broad-brush figures obviously mask many significant regional variations.


So for example the BBC says that if a typical full-time worker in England, living alone, spent everything they earned after tax and national insurance on their rent, they would have made enough money by May 3 to cover their rent. In London the cost of rent eats up 15 more days' pay than it did in 2011.

Tenants in much of the north of England, Scotland and Wales have seen the number of working days fall. In these areas take home pay has broadly increased faster than rental prices, owing to rises in the amount people can earn before paying tax, known as the personal allowance.

Similar workers in Scotland would have earned enough money to pay their rent by April 24 and in Wales workers would be rent free by April 12, says the corporation.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, told the BBC: "There are local pressures across the country each with different underlying cause...What we need is a housing policy that is more flexible and we need to remember the vast majority of landlords don't rent out properties to make a fortune off the backs of young people."

The BBC used data from over 200,000 private rental agreements plus Valuation Office and Office for National Statistics information. 

It says the number of days it would take a tenant to pay the annual rent on a private two-bed property was calculated by dividing the median annual rent for a property by the median daily net pay for a full-time worker in each local authority area.

Net pay was calculated by taking the gross annual pay for the median worker in each local authority area, accounting for the personal allowance, income tax and national insurance, then dividing the figure by the total number of days the median worker could spend at work. The calculation excludes weekends, eight bank holidays in England and Wales and nine bank holidays in Scotland.

  • Asa Bentley

    What is shocking is that 99%+ of these tenants are not having their rent recognised in their credit history! It's time for homeowners and tenants to be treated equally.

    At CreditLadder we work very hard and in conjunction with Experian to help tackle the challenges faced by rental tenants in the UK. With HM Treasury backing we hope to make a positive change by working with agents, landlords and tenants to encourage and reward on-time rental behaviour.


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