Rents in the UK could rise by a fifth in the next five years as housing costs rise for the UK's lowest earners, one of the UK's most well-respected housing bodies has said.
Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed rents for those on lower incomes could rise more than 20 per cent in the next five years while house prices rise by just 18 per cent.
In the capital, rents are expected to rise 15 per cent in the next five years - although figures published in December showed rents in London had reached £830 a month, a record high, and a 3.9 per cent on the previous year. London is home to nearly a fifth of the UK's rental accommodation, according to separate figures.
The research suggested a third of its respondents believed those on lower incomes are being pushed out of the private rental market, while 29 per cent blamed caps on housing benefits.
Just over half of landlords it surveyed said they'd be prepared to rent properties to households receiving housing benefit if help was provided through central government which provided financial guarantees for both deposits and rent.
“We see this as a matter of public interest," said RICS chief executive Sean Tompkins.
"The housing market is falling increasingly out of step with the majority of household incomes. In the current climate, it can be hard enough for young professionals to make ends meet. But for those on benefits, the pressures may be insurmountable.
"Worryingly our figures show that as a result of a combination of economic pressures, more and more vulnerable tenants are being pushed out of the private rented sector. However, if government were to put in place additional support measures through the introduction of help to rent schemes, the door to the rental market may once again be opened for Britain’s most vulnerable.”