min read

Renters are just 'working for their landlords' as housing shortages bite - claim

renters wages go to landlords

Renters in England worked 125 days of the year solely to pay their rent and only started putting their earnings into their own pocket on 5th May.

The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) says although the ‘Cost of Rent day’ - the number of days the average renter would have to work to pay off their annual rent bill - is a slight improvement on the past two years, its lateness emphasises the sheer severity of the housing crisis.

The think-tank’s analysis, which aims to help translate the rental crisis into simple terms, found that the day falls even later in cities and the South East, meaning that renters' higher salaries in these areas are not sufficient to compensate for the lack of homes. Kensington and Chelsea has the latest date of 25th September while the average across London is 16th July. Burnley has the earliest Cost of Rent day of 10th March and the average across the North East is 31st March.

Profoundly misguided

The institute says although policymakers need to fix the housing crisis, particularly by addressing the shortage of supply of homes, imposing rent controls to address the problem is profoundly misguided and only makes the root problem worse.

“Rent controls lead to a shortage of rental accommodation and a deterioration in its quality,” explains chairman James Lawson (pictured). “The reason why rent controls are so harmful is simple - rent controls mean landlords are forced to charge prices below the market rate. This fundamentally changes their incentives, meaning they invest elsewhere and some withdraw altogether.”

Investing capital

ASI insists that the Cost of Rent day is not intended as an attack on landlords. “By investing capital, managing risks, providing housing, and stimulating economic activities, landlords contribute significantly to the functioning and health of both local and national economies…we can appreciate their role not just as rent collectors but as essential contributors to the housing market’s vitality and stability,” adds Lawson.


Rent increases
Housing crisis