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TV, contracts and Big Macs – these daily costs are dwarfing rental deposit fees

Lettings deposit replacement scheme Ome has looked at how much tenants are paying to secure a rental property, how this has changed in the last five years, and how this price increase compares to other items throughout their daily lives.

The data reveals that the current tenant is now paying £1,139 – a 5% increase compared to the £1,088 paid in 2014.

Renting is considered to be one of life’s largest financial hurdles, with the traditional upfront deposit charged at the start of a tenancy posing an obstacle to the nation’s tenants.

However, when looking at the cost of a deposit compared to the inflation of other everyday costs, the figures show that deposits have increased at a lower rate than many other costs of living, suggesting the issues of cashflow surrounding renting stretch further than the deposit itself.

For instance, the cost of a basic pay TV package, such as Sky or Virgin, has increased from an average of £22 to £28 in the last five years – the largest increase at 26%.

While the cost of renting has increased, it’s the cost of buying a home that has seen the second largest increase in the last five years – up 24% to the current average house price of £231,265.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sum we spend on our mobile phones has seen the third largest increase, up 22%, while the price of a Big Mac has also increased more than the average rental deposit (+19%).

Other items that have increased at a greater rate than tenancy deposits in the last five years are car insurance (15.3%), the price of gold (10%), the cost of a pint (10%) and the cost of a cinema ticket (6%).

In fact, the only things to make the list that have increased at a lower rate than a rental deposit are home insurance costs (4%) and petrol (-2%). During this time, the average UK salary has only increased by 12.4%, meaning many day-to-day items have grown at a larger rate.

Matthew Hooker, co-founder of Ome, comments: “The rental sector has received a fair share of negative press in its time and much of this has been focused around the traditional deposit and the sums charged by agents at the start of a tenancy in order for a tenant to secure a property.”

“However, with the recent Tenant Fees Act shining a light on the fees charged by traditional letting agents, it’s interesting to see that in relative terms, the increase in the value of tenant deposits is actually smaller than the increase seen in our TV packages, mobile contracts, Big Macs, and even the growth in the average UK salary.”

Hooker says it is the cost of living within a property itself that is putting the greatest ‘financial squeeze’ on the nation’s tenants, with the actual deposit only proving a problem for those unable to gather the large initial sum.

“Of course, many of these other costs are either small or provide the option to pay in instalments, with the deposit being the last major cost that can’t be widely tackled in bite sized chunks,” he continues.

“That’s why we’ve seen a number of deposit alternatives enter the market in order to provide this choice and allow tenants to stay on top of the climbing costs elsewhere in life, by opting to pay their rental deposit on a more manageable monthly basis.”

The different variables and price changes over a five-year period be seen below:

Variable

Five year change (2014 - 2019)

Basic pay-TV price (monthly)

26%

Average house price

24%

Mobile usage price (monthly)

22%

Big Mac

19%

Car insurance premium (annual)

15%

UK Net Salary

12%

Gold

10%

Pint of beer

10%

Cinema ticket

6%

Tenancy deposit

5%

Home insurance premium (annual)

4%

Unleaded petrol (pump price)

-2%

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