The inability of many prospective property owners to get on the housing ladder has seen demand soar for rental accommodation in the last five years.
Higher demand and higher rents go hand in hand so you might have thought that the recovery in the sales market might make landlords keep their rents on hold for the coming year.
Not so, according to flat and house share website SpareRoom.co.uk.
It said that more than four in ten (42%) of landlords plan to raise rents, with over a quarter (26%) planning inflation-busting rent increases of more than 3%.
SpareRoom said that the findings of its survey would be "unwelcome news for the thousands of people who are trapped renting long term because they can’t afford to climb onto the property ladder, and saw rents soar last year".
The average UK rent for a double room in shared accommodation with bills included rose by 4.5% in Q4 2013 to £507 per month – up from £485 the previous year – according to SpareRoom’s Rental Index. In London, the average room rent increased by 2% in the last quarter to £676 per month, up from £663 a year ago.
The research also revealed that almost six in ten landlords (58%) are not planning to increase rents in 2013, as many concede that keeping good, reliable tenants in their properties takes priority.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom, said: "The good news is the majority of landlords would rather keep good, reliable tenants than make a few hundred pounds extra profit a year.
"Landlords hiking rents up by more than 3% risk attracting tenants who could struggle to pay their rent on time or, even worse, risk void periods with no tenants and no rental income at all.
“If you’re a good tenant don’t automatically just accept an increase. Use it as an opportunity to talk to your landlord and get some improvements carried out in return.
“If you’re facing rent increases check your contract. Tenants on fixed-term tenancy contracts could be protected them from rent rises as landlords aren't usually allowed to increase rents until the term ends, unless there’s a clause in the agreement saying the rent can be increased.”