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Parents and pet owners face hiked rent costs

Parents and pet owners face hiked rent costs
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Renters with pets or children are paying as much as £460 more on rent and bills, compared to other renters, according to research by Confused.com.

The price comparison website found that landlords have increased prices to cover additional cleaning fees, deposits, or bonds where there are children or animals in a property.

According to the research, one in three (33%) renters currently have a pet at their rental property, while around three in 10 (29%) have children. Of these, one in seven (13%) have had to pay their landlord an additional bond or deposit, and one in 10 (10%) had to pay an extra cleaning fee.

But despite more people surveyed being pet owners, it seems that it’s parents who are financially penalised the most by their landlord. Parents have paid as much as £286, on average, to their landlord for deposits or bonds, while those with pets paid an average of £236. When it came to cleaning fees, parents have had to pay an average of £174, compared to £151 from those with pets.

The study of 2,000 renters found that the average monthly rent was £586. But three in four (75%) of all renters said that this has increased, on average, by £77 in the past 12 months. That’s up by 15% in a year, which is more than the average rise of inflation (9%) over the same time frame.

On top of rental costs, essential bills such as electricity, internet, water and council tax are costing renters around £352, on average, each month. A quarter (25%) of renters are also paying for other expenses such as service charges and cleaning fees, typically around £129 each month.

These costs bring the total outgoings per person to about £1,067 on top of their monthly rental costs, bringing the total to £1,653, on average.

Some renters also claimed they were forced to pay for repairs, such as to the boiler or plumbing, themselves, with landlords not always refunding them the money spent.

Two in three (66%) tenants said their landlord didn’t reimburse them for costs they paid themselves.

For those renters with responsive landlords, issues were fixed within two to five days for about a third (32%) of tenants. About one in 10 (11%) waited for more than a month to get issues fixed, and 13% were still waiting for their repairs to be made when questioned.

The rules for renters

The rules for renters could be confusing for some, as different rules apply depending on where you live in the UK.

For example, in England, landlords can only charge one week’s rent for a holding deposit, while this isn’t allowed at all in Scotland.

According to the latest research, the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill seems to be welcomed by the majority of renters. More than half (54%) of the survey respondents said they think the bill will protect tenants.

For now, the bill is likely to be passed in England, but more than one in three (37%) said they hope the bill will also be passed across the rest of the UK. If passed, landlords won’t be allowed to refuse tenants with pets, children or those who get benefits. It will also mean tighter laws on the financial elements of renting, as well as eviction rights.

Matthew Harwood at Confused.com home insurance, said: “Our latest data shows how renters with pets or children may be paying more than others – which could seem unfair. But potential new rules for landlords could mean that this changes in the near future.

“With the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill soon in England, both landlords and tenants should have greater clarity on their living arrangements and financial commitments. And although this doesn’t exist elsewhere in the UK just yet, it doesn’t mean similar rules won’t apply in future. These changes should mean that some tenants won’t be financially penalised, leaving them with some additional income during a difficult and expensive time.”