3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
BBC Newsbeat 2 December 2011
Young people are finding it increasingly hard to afford to rent property in the UK, according to one of the UK's leading housing websites.
Rightmove says that while demand for flats and houses to rent is increasing, the supply of property is falling.
Demand increased by more than 10% in July, August and September compared to the same three months last year.
Rightmove's research manager Matthew James said that situation could get worse as rents rise even higher.
"The rental market is under pressure at the moment," he said. "It is basically a supply and demand issue.
"We've seen demand for rental properties increase by about 50% over the last year and at the same time we've seen the supply of properties available for rent fall.
"Where demand outweighs supply in this way, it's inevitable that rents will rise."
In separate research, Countrywide Residential Lettings says five tenants are now competing for each flat or house.
One of the effects of that supply and demand situation is that many young renters are being forced to move back in with their parents.
Continue reading the main story Mylee Inman
To be 21 and be in this situation and struggle to even buy food because of rent, is ridiculous. I can't honestly see, if things don't get better, how we are going to afford to keep going the way we are
Mylee Inman, 21
Mylee Inman, 21, moved to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk to live with her partner Sam.
She says they are struggling to afford rent despite both having decent jobs.
"I moved from Bedfordshire to be with Sam," she said. "We didn't think it would be this hard.
"[We pay] £525 a month when we're both earning just under £1,000, which doesn't sound a lot.
"But then taking into consideration things like council tax, bills and petrol, the amount that they're going up, our money doesn't stretch far.
"To be 21 and be in this situation and struggle to even buy food because of rent, is ridiculous.
"I can't honestly see, if things don't get better, how we are going to afford to keep going the way we are."
Another effect of rents going up is that young people are not able to keep up payments to their landlord with some going into serious arrears.
Paul Shamplina runs Landlord Action, a company that specialises in tenant eviction.
He says they have seen a rise in landlords trying to evict tenants through the courts over the past two years.
Estate agent's window Many young people are being forced to move back in with their parents
"We are seeing that a lot more landlords are less tolerant," he said "But a lot of landlords are struggling as well.
"They're having their properties repossessed at the same time by the banks. The margins are so tight that one or two months lost rent mean they're struggling to pay the mortgage."
Paul Shamplina says as well as seeing a rise in rent arrears cases, his firm has noticed an increase in tenants defending eviction cases in court and appealing judges' decisions to try to stay in homes for longer without paying.
He admits it can be an involved process getting non-paying tenants evicted.
"The landlord has to serve a legal notice on the tenant which could be for rent arrears, which is a 14-day notice or a Section 8 notice," he said.
"If the landlord just wants the property back and there are no rent arrears, they can serve a two-month notice to end the contract.
"If the tenant refuses to leave the property, the landlord has to go to court and it generally takes about two months to get a possession order.
"Some tenants fall on hard times, some abuse the system and others are serial bad tenants who go from property to property."
Landlord action was set up by landlords for landlords with problem tenants. That is, tenants who are in rent arrears or break some other part of a tenancy agreement. Landlord & tenant law is a specialist area and we found solicitor charges were too much and too vague. When you have a bad tenant you want to evict them fast. Any landlord would want a bad tenant out. they want advice and help with the law. And that's what we do. We are experts in this area and unlike solicitors, we only act for landlords, never tenants. And we'll help recover the outstanding rent. Our free advice line is open to all landlords and we have carried out thousands of evictions.