Thursday 16 November 2017

What could you afford to rent in Chichester?

The average rent in Chichester right now is £1,150pcm. That rental figure falls in line with the average price of a three-bedroom house, so that is what the ‘average’ tenant can likely afford to rent in Chichester at the moment.

Unfortunately not everyone is ‘average’ and even those who are will be spending a large chunk of their income on rent. A little trick of the trade is that most landlords and agents who undertake tenant referencing will do so within set parameters of the industry. The simplest one to get your head around is that the applicants (prospective tenants) need to show provable income of 30 times the monthly rent per year. So, at an average rent of £1,150pcm, the average tenants of a property in Chichester will need to earn £34,500 per annum (1150 x 30).

Whilst this is in excess of the average salary within both the UK (£27,600) and Chichester (£28,800), don’t forget that most properties of this size will be occupied by more than one tenant, and it is their combined income that needs to pass the affordability check.

Unfortunately, when I contacted a young chap who had enquired about renting a two-bedroom house I have available to rent in Chichester at £925pcm and asked whether he earns in excess of £27,750 (925 x 30) I was met by a four-worded tirade as to how I could expect anyone his age to earn that. Whilst I can’t say I sympathised much due to this particular individual’s language, the (in)affordability of housing is certainly a problem for Chichester’s youngsters.

Many starting out in their careers will flat-share with friends or rent an individual room in a shared house, before moving into a home with a partner. Whilst this individual maintained he wanted his own space, I can’t say that situation has changed much throughout time and it is quite rare that a young person looks to rent on their own, due to both social and economical reasons.

Those that do may look to rent a smaller (and cheaper) property. The cheapest whole property to rent in Chichester at the moment is listed at £625pcm. The ’30 times the rent’ affordability test would hint at the need for a salary of £18,750 to rent this property, which is still some 50% above minimum wage! It is also where the affordability test can fall down at times, when you consider the acceptable salary of £18,750 per annum equates to £1,336pcm after tax. Factor in council tax, water, gas, electricity, insurance, broadband and a TV licence in addition to the rent and even before ‘living costs’….you know, like food!....we can see that things are bleak for those who aren’t in a position to share a home with others.

I’m afraid that unless earnings suddenly rise things aren’t likely to get much better for tenants in the near future either. Government’s legislative meddling has led to fewer properties to rent, whilst cost increases (and tax relief decreases) has seen landlords’ considering putting up the rent to cover their additional costs.

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on 16th November 2017) 

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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