Rents too high, say rent seekers

Private rents are now unaffordable in 55% of local authorities in England, the housing charity Shelter has said.

I must be getting cynical these days, but whenever I read that a charity has produced a report that criticises something or other I begin to think, "Is someones Government funding in danger of being cut?". I usually have a read though because one day a really worthwhile charity that exists on public donations alone will publish something truthful and worth reading. But not today.

So. Private rents are unaffordable are they? That must mean there is a huge tranche of housing stock unoccupied, and many private landlords who can't afford to put food on the table.

What? That isn't the case? Then what could they possibly mean?

Homes in these areas cost more than 35% of median average local take-home pay - the level considered unaffordable by Shelter's Private Rent Watch report.
Ahh. More fiddling of figures to get junk. The median average is the middle number in a list of numbers. When looking at local take home pay, who have they included? Under 21's? Part time workers?

And does take home pay refer to individual earners or couples? If a couple spend 35% of one wage on rent, that leaves them one full wage and 65% of the other for everything else. That's pretty much the picture in our house and we pay a mortgage of £380 per month. One wage covers all bills and outgoings plus food, the other is left for everything else.

The charity said 38% of families with children who rent privately have cut back on buying food to help pay rent.

Of course we don't have any children but we do know how to prioritise. Priority number one is paying for the roof over our heads. Number two is food and number three is bills and outgoings. A distant last priority is fags, booze and any other non essential rubbish.

Rural areas were found to be worst hit by the high rentals relative to income, with rents in Manchester and Birmingham more affordable than in north Devon or Herefordshire.

Housing prices in rural areas tend to be higher than those in places like Manchester and Birmingham anyway. Anyone buying to rent in more expesnive areas would have to set thier rents a bit higher.
Alice Barnard from the Countryside Alliance urged the government to "urgently review" the rental market in rural areas.

And what are the Government supposed to do? Private people buying private property have the right to set thier own rents. Those rents will of course be set at a level that people are willing to pay, otherwise the properties would stand empty and the landlords would be out of pocket.

I think this fake charity, Shelter, is trying to tell us that people who can't afford the properties they want, should have Government intervention to make the property owners charge them less.

Sometimes we can't have the nice things we want. We have a fairly nice house now but it took us many years to get there. Working hard, working up and above all, not buying tonnes of crap that we don't need.

If your income isn't too sparkling (Through nobody elses fault) or if you have had more kids than you can afford, you need to be thinking smaller and maybe you need to be looking for a property in a cheaper area.

Affordable housing is not a human right. If you haven't the means for what you want, it's up to you to change that, not the Government and not the endless fake charities.

*Update* Upon publishing this I notice Trooper Thompson has picked up on this story over at Orphans. He explains why housing prices are higher than we would like them to be. Go read.