Bath rent rises may force people into social housing
Rising rent prices are causing concerns for Bath's economy and forcing more people into social housing.
Figures released by homeless charity Shelter have revealed that the average annual rent has gone up by £380 or 3.6 per cent in Bath and north east Somerset in the past year.
This increase is higher than the regional average of two per cent or £155 a year.
The figures were released as part of a report from the charity called The Rent Trap, which claimed the cost of renting was becoming so high that people were unable to save.
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Chief executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb, said: "A relentless stream of rent rises means that most feel they will never move on from a life paying dead money to landlords, in a home that they can't make their own.
"And for some, rising rents have more immediate consequences – not enough money to spend on food, fuel or other essentials."
According to Bath and North East Somerset Council, the number of people on the social housing register has gone up by 35 per cent in the last two years. In 2010 there were 8,800 on the register but last year this figure had risen to 11,909.
Chief executive of the city's social housing landlord Curo, Victor da Cunha, said people in the region's rental market were facing a crisis.
He said: "We've got this complex economic world where people can't get mortgages to buy properties so people are now renting.
"But if you take this further what is really happening is people are finding it more and more of a problem to rent full stop. As rents get higher it's becoming really difficult for most people to rent on an average salary and this is not made any easier by changes to the welfare system."
Executive director of Bath Chamber of Commerce, Ian Bell, said the problem was supply and demand, which could ultimately force more and more people out of the city.
He said: "This is really bad news for the long-term health of our economy because it produces several problems. Most commonly, it forces people to move out of the district to find somewhere affordable to live.
"That means they then have to commute in to work, adding to congestion. Worse still, they may actually find a job elsewhere and we lose valuable workers."