Cost of renting in London: tenants must spend their entire pay – or more – on the basic cost of living in 12 London boroughs


Renters must spend their entire take home pay, or in some cases even more, on the basic costs of living in 12 of London’s 32 boroughs, new research has found.

In 13 further boroughs the cost of living accounts for 90 per cent or more of the average wage.

Ideal Flatmate’s survey found that there are only seven London boroughs where renters spend less than 90 per cent of their income on the bare essentials.

Rent was by far the largest outgoing of all the living costs considered. Additional reasonable costs – including clothing and leisure – were not factored in.

The least affordable place to rent in London

The least affordable borough for renters was found to be Kensington and Chelsea, which has the highest house prices in the country.

Renters in the borough pay 117 per cent of the average monthly net pay for the area (£2,102) on basic living costs, which Ideal Flatmate calculates at £2,452.

This includes £1,950 per month on rent, £134.80 on a travel card for Zones 1 and 2, £30 a month on food, £146 on electricity, gas and water, £113.09 on council tax and £77 on internet and phone bill. The figures for average household spend were taken from the Office for National Statistics data on family spending in the UK.

Brent was the second least affordable borough for the average local renter, with living costs totally £1,849, a full 116 per cent of take home pay of £1,587.

Hackney (114%), Hounslow (112%), Enfield (111%) and Newham (110%) were the next worst boroughs for renter affordability after years of rent increases not being matched by wage growth.

“Although unemployment has been falling and wage growth has been on the up, this research demonstrates how vast the reality gap still is between the money available and the cost of living in London,” said co-founder of ideal flatmate, Tom Gatzen.

The most affordable places to rent in London

The most affordable place to rent – where renters would still have 20 per cent of their take home pay to fritter away on the fun side of life each month – was Bromley in outer south-east London.

The average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the borough is on the cheap side, at £950 and living costs amounted to £1,597, while take home pay is eighth highest in the capital at £2,002.

Wandsworth (86%), Bexley (87%), Havering (88%), Croydon (88%), Richmond-upon-Thames (88%) and Hammersmith and Fulham (89%) were the remaining boroughs where living costs amounted to less than 90 per cent of income.

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