London family rents 'unaffordable', says Shelter

Lettings boards Research found that a family would need to earn almost £3,500 each month to afford a two-bedroom home

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Families now need to earn a combined salary of £52,000 a year to be able to rent a two-bedroom home affordably in London a housing charity has said.

It comes at a time when rents are rising at almost twice the rate of wages, said Shelter.

London Rent Watch examined more than 20,000 typical private rents in London.

In eight London boroughs, including Hackney and Tower Hamlets, it found families needed to earn over £60,000 a year.

'Worrying picture'

Shelter said families were being "stretched to the limit" as the average income for an entire household was less than £35,000.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: "These findings paint a worrying picture."

He said thousands of London families were "praying they won't be hit by another rent rise that could tip them over the edge".

One in four London families now rents their home from a private landlord - an increase of 70% over two years, Shelter said.

It said growing numbers of families were at "crisis point", paying up to half of their income in rent each month as they struggled to continue living and working in the capital.

The research found that the rate of inflation on private rents in London was 7% in 2011 - almost double the rate of inflation on the average London wage.

'Ridiculous situation'

Andrea Gray, a Metropolitan Police constable based in Southwark, said she had to live near Lowestoft, Suffolk, because she could not afford London rents.

She earns £38,000 a year and has three children and rents her three-bedroom house in Suffolk for £700 a month.

She said she worked five days on and five days off and paid a colleague £200 a month to sleep in his spare room in London when she was working.

She said: "I just couldn't afford to live in London any more.

"I pay £700 a month plus £200 to my friend but I couldn't even get a one bedroom flat for that in London.

"It's a ridiculous situation really."

In an Ipsos Mori poll conducted for BBC London, Londoners said that the single most important policy the Mayoral candidates had discussed was finding a way to reduce the cost of private renting.

London Rent Watch's research used the median rent of more than 20,000 contracted private rents in London collected by the government between January and December 2011.

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