Two Yorkshire cities among 'top five' in UK where tenants saw the biggest rises in rent last year

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Tenants in Yorkshire are suffering from some of the highest rises in rent, as parents are being forced to take money from their food budgets to meet hikes in monthly costs.

Rents in two of Yorkshire's biggest cities have soared higher than the majority of other UK locations - including London - according to property site Zoopla.

Terraced houses in Leeds, where rental costs have risen by 4.4% over the past year

Terraced houses in Leeds, where rental costs have risen by 4.4% over the past year

York and Leeds were named third and fourth respectively on a list of major towns and cities where rent saw the biggest increase over the past year, behind Nottingham and Bristol.

Rents across the nation rose nearly twice as fast as the year before, with the average monthly rent up by 2.6 per cent to £886 in 2019.

But while rent in York and Leeds still remains below the average, the two cities last year saw a five per cent and 4.4 per cent increase in rents, respectively.

Nikki Marshall is a single mother-of-two living in Leeds, who says the rent on her home in the Whitkirk area has recently increased by £50 a month.

York was Yorkshire's leading city, and third in the UK, for the rise in rental costs for properties. Tenants in York saw on average a 5% increase in their rent in 2019, according to Zoopla.

York was Yorkshire's leading city, and third in the UK, for the rise in rental costs for properties. Tenants in York saw on average a 5% increase in their rent in 2019, according to Zoopla.

As a result, Miss Marshall has had to take money from the weekly food budget for her and her sons to meet the costs.

She said: "Once you're in a property there's nothing you can do if they increase the rent - you can move into another private let but you need the bond and deposit again so you're backed into a corner to just pay the increase.

"I've been trying to get on the council list for two years, but I've been told it could take another four years to get there. As I have a home already, I'm not a council priority."

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Rental costs in Yorkshire have risen over the past year

Rental costs in Yorkshire have risen over the past year

The rise in costs also means young professionals are being priced out of city centres, and even major cities, said renter Abigail Beall.

The 27-year-old freelance journalist recently moved from a flat near Leeds Docks, where the landlord put rent up by £75 a month.

Abigail and her partner were paying £675 a month for a one-bedroom flat and parking space, without bills.

Rent on the property rose by more than 11 per cent to £750 last year, shortly after the couple decided to move out as they managed to buy a house elsewhere.

Terraced houses in Leeds, where rental costs have risen by 4.4% over the past year

Terraced houses in Leeds, where rental costs have risen by 4.4% over the past year

She said: "It was already the cheapest flat I could find - all other places I'd looked at before were more expensive.

"We had to find someone to take over the final three months of the tenancy but, as the landlord put the rent up, no-one was prepared to pay that much.

"I think rising rents are probably driving people out of the city centres. I know loads of people in my friendship group moving away - you just get way more for your money when you're further out."

But fewer and fewer people are able to get on the housing ladder, which, along with economic growth and rising living costs, has been touted as a reason for rises in rents as more and more people are relying on rentals.

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Dwindling availability of property due to landlords being hit by tax changes has also been cited for reasons why rent is going up.

Despite this, James Wilkin said many landlords like himself were able to make a profit from rising rents

He said: "This year, even accounting for the usual upgrades and maintenance costs associated with being a responsible landlord, I have seen an increase in the net yield of my portfolio.

"This is a pleasant change to previous years where despite maintaining the properties to a high standard I have been unable to increase the rents."

Research and insight director at Zoopla, Richard Donell, said rents were expected to increase again over the next year.

"We expect rents to increase by 3.5% over 2020 as a lack of supply supports faster growth."

The Chamber of Commerce for West and North Yorkshire has said it is "no surprise" rents have increased in Leeds as job opportunities in the city increase, and added that there was a "shortage of affordable housing" in York which has "forced" young people out.

Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy and Business Representation at the Chamber, said: “Leeds has seen a significant increase in job creation over recent years, with a number of high profile companies choosing to locate in the city, alongside existing companies expanding.

"The city centre housing market is responding albeit there is delay as new schemes come to market, so it should not really come as a surprise that rental growth is a consequence.

"York too, is a successful city but a shortage of affordable housing, suitable for young people often forces them out of the city; the difficulties experienced by companies recruiting in the city is regularly cited in my conversations with business.

"There have been a number of high profile city centre, residential redevelopments and welcome as they are in bringing new life to wonderful heritage buildings, they are not generally aimed at the younger buyer or renter. Unfortunately until York grasps the nettle on housing through its Local Plan this is unlikely to change.”