Struggling tenants have faced rent rises of up to 18% this year. A new study has revealed that the two worst places to be renting in 2015 were Brighton and Bristol - where rents rose 18% during the year. Rents in general soared across the country to an average of £739 outside London and £1,523 in the capital.
London has tended to lead the way in rent rises in recent years, but the HomeLet Rental Index showed there were a number of cities that were even tougher for tenants in 2015. Brighton saw rents rise dramatically, as commuters pushed out of London by sky-high rents were drawn to the coast.
Bristol, meanwhile, is suffering a similar shortage of good rental properties in popular areas, as they are snapped up students and professionals - who are continuing to rent later and later in life as buying becomes more expensive.
After Bristol and Brighton came Edinburgh and Newcastle - where rents were up 16%. London saw the fifth highest rent rises at 11% (matching rises in Liverpool).
The major cities showing the smallest rent rises were Leicester, Birmingham and Sheffield at 4% and Belfast, Nottingham and Manchester at 5%. Clearly even here prices are rising far faster than inflation, and tenants are seeing a bigger proportion of their income lost to rental payments as pay is up less than 3%. Overall, rents rose an average of 4.9% outside London and 8% in the capital.
The only bright note in the research is that rent rises slowed through the year, and in some areas rent was even falling in the last few months of 2015. There is some hope, therefore, that 2016 could be less painful for renters.
Of course, for renters, who have seen prices spiral out of control for years, this is a forlorn hope. Until there is some form of rental control in place in these hotspots, or a real commitment to radical housebuilding across the country, it's hard to see a time when we don't have to set aside a larger and larger slice of income every year to pay the rent.