Tenants' costs of renting a home 'up again'
The cost of renting a home in England and Wales has risen for the ninth consecutive month but the rate of increase has slowed, a survey has said.
LSL Property Services, which owns agencies such as Your Move and Reeds Rains, said that the average rent climbed to £720 a month in October.
However, the 0.2% monthly increase was the smallest rise since February.
Frustrated first-time buyers continuing to rent and a shortage of rental property have led to rising costs.
The picture on a regional basis shows that rental costs rose sharpest in the south-east of England (up 1.5%) and the east of England (up 0.8%) in October compared with September.
Over the last year, tenants in London have seen rents rise faster than in any other region.
In October, rents fell by 1.4% in the north-east and south-west of England, and dropped by 0.8% in Wales, compared with September.
"The recent increases are likely to continue to level out in run up to Christmas - traditionally a slower time for the market," said David Newnes, of LSL.
"Nevertheless, despite the slower rate of increase, the cost of renting is still rising annually at nearly twice the speed of the average salary and many tenants will need to dedicate a growing portion of their disposable income to the cost of accommodation over the next year."
The pressure on tenants was also in evidence as 10.1% of all rent was paid late or not at all in October, compared with 8.6% in September. However, this was slightly lower than the 10.3% average of the previous 12 months.
LSL is predicting that tenant arrears will increase in the next 12 months, and others are expecting rents to continue rising.
Matt Hutchinson, director of flat and house share website, Spareroom.co.uk, said: "With the economic climate unlikely to be much improved as we go into 2012, this supply-demand imbalance will worsen rather than improve, which could well put more upward pressure on rental prices.
"However, the one saving grace is that the last thing landlords want is empty properties, so they will have a responsibility not to price tenants out of the market."