TENANTS are facing a struggle with “relentless” rises in rent, with Edinburgh recording the highest annual increase in the UK, according to a new survey.

While the increasing cost of mortgages is hitting the headlines, rent has been soaring faster than earnings for nearly two years with the average British tenant spending more than 28% of their earnings before tax on the cost of their home.

The report shows that annual rental increase in April was highest in Edinburgh, at 13.7%, with average monthly rent of £1130, according to the data compiled by property portal Zoopla.

This was followed by London at 13.5% with average rent of £2001, Manchester at 13% with average rent of £982 and Glasgow at 12.3% and average rent per month of £868.

Aberdeen also made the top ten, with growth of 10.6% and an average rent of £652 per month.

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The report found rent now accounts for 28.3% of pre-tax earnings, up from a 10-year average of 27%.

The proportion falling behind with their rental payments has doubled to 8% in the last six months and almost 15% said they are now finding it “very difficult” to pay, up from 10%.

Surging rent costs are set to slow towards 8% by the end of the year as affordability pressures start to rein in rises, but this is still far outstripping wage growth, according to Zoopla.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said: “Renters continue to face a relentless increase in rents, compounding wider cost of living pressures and making home moving decisions ever more challenging, especially for singles and those on lower incomes.

“The chronic imbalance between supply and demand continues to push rents higher, but we expect increasingly stretched affordability will start to reduce the pace of rental growth into 2024.

The National:

“While there is concern over the impact of higher mortgage rates on those with mortgages, renters have already seen a £2820 a year increase in rental costs over the last five years. Some renters are experiencing more stress from higher rents with a jump in those finding the rent difficult to pay.”

The report found that many landlords are selling up due to soaring mortgage rates, although it adds that talk of a widespread exodus is “overdone”, with no overall change in the number of private rented homes since 2016.

It added that woes in the wider property market due to sky-high rates may see more properties become available for rent, but stressed it unlikely that rental supply will “expand enough to moderate rental inflation over the rest of 2023”.

Scotland has had a cap in rent rises for existing tenants over the past year under emergency legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament to help with the cost of living crisis, but the Zoopla data applies to new lets.

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SNP housing spokesperson, Chris Stephens MP, said: “The reckless and ignorant economic decisions of the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour have wreaked havoc on the housing market, punishing households who are already seeing other living costs soar.

“These latest figures paint a stark picture of the Tory created housing nightmare which has continued to worsen every day, and that, through no fault of their own, threatens the security of people's housing and their living conditions.

“Hit the hardest by this mess are young people and those on lower incomes, for whom the idea of home ownership is now a pipe dream thanks to the inaction and economic mismanagement of the UK government.

“There can be no more delay, the Tories must take firm action to bring down housing costs and help empower people to buy a home.

“But with every passing day the situation grows worse for households, and Scottish Government efforts to bring down housing costs for tenants is put at risk.”