Row of houses

Rents across the UK are rising at the fastest pace since 2008, according to the ‘UK Rental Market Report: Latest insight on the UK Rental Market based on Zoopla’s Rental Index’ published today.

In September, private sector rents were 4.6% higher than a year earlier at £968 a month on average, marking the strongest growth in 13 years.

The Zoopla report uses euphemisms like ‘strong rental demand’, with a ‘doubling of demand in major city centres’ and how ‘rental demand will be higher than supply’ to be seen as positives. But for whom?

The least able will suffer

Despite the testosterone-soaked adjectives being hurled around by those who will gain from the increase in rents, such as landlords and property-letting companies, potentially 2,000,000 renters will be negatively affected.

As of October 6th, the £20 uplift to Universal Credit came to an end. This was already going to cause enormous problems for the recipients and how they paid their rent. With the increases already being applied to rents, and another 4.5% increase to come next year, they will have no way to meet these hugely inflated sums. Undoubtedly this will lead to evictions.

Being stripped of a basic human need

Evictions have almost tripled since the moratorium on these actions ended. Clearly, evictions come with enormous consequences. In addition to the stress, heartache and financial cost families face, it places strain on already underfunded council and voluntary services provided for those forced into homelessness.

Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director of Generation Rent, said the report was “terrible news”. He added that since the pandemic, private renters were more likely to be getting housing support through the welfare system.

“But the chancellor has frozen rates for another year, so these rises will make it even harder to find an affordable home. The government has to do much more to bring rents down – that means building more homes, including social housing.”

Survival

Shelter, like food, water and warmth, are basic human needs. These are not, nor ever should be considered commodities.

However, make no mistake, commodification is a fundamental, necessary tenet of capitalism. Apart from the ‘simple’ and horrendous notion that is the ‘profit motive’, growth is sought from the constant addition of that which can be commodified.

In addition to ‘commodification’, capital needs us, it needs ‘meat machines’ to operate as their labour.

What better way to ‘encourage’ us to continue to do their menial, mind-numbing, bidding? To continually add value to products to turn into profit for them? Simple, make life contingent on having money to exchange for these life-preserving ‘commodities’!

There is plenty of talk of ‘investing’ in new housing‘ to alleviate issues of demand. Despite the reported large amounts of cash to support such programmes, this is no solution, at best it’s reform.

Those with power are not going to give up on the idea of making a profit. They are not going to overlook the potential for growth. They will not allow enough homes to be built to balance the number in need of shelter with the number of homes.

Most of all, they are not going to give up the ‘arrangement’ they have where we give up our labour for money to buy back what we have toiled to produce; particularly to buy back those ‘commodities’ that are absolutely necessary.

In other words, capital will not give up on the total control they have over us and our lives.

Socialism is the beginning of self-determination. It is the start of breaking that control. It is how we provide what is needed, by all, for all.


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4 thought on “UK Rents Most Costly in 13 Years”
  1. Hi Dave – thanks very much for this – can I clarify something? Are you saying that rents themselves were more expensive 13 years ago than they are now, or that the rate of growth was higher then?
    Keep up the good work 🙂
    Sixty.

  2. Hi Mike,
    I did include the graphed data from the report to make sense of the introduction claims but for some reason it was taken out when published.
    The rents are higher now and the rate of growth in rents is higher on average. London had a big slump (COVID influence at play) hence the reason the UK figures are an average. However, the data shows the London story as well as the report so that it should be clear to the reader that the ‘topline’ figures are averages.
    I hope that helps. I’m going to tweet the chart out as it may help others to make better sense of what I wrote.
    PS I’ll drop you a note to see if you saw this comment.

    Cheers, Mike,
    Dave

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