Rising rents swallowing up 70 per cent of Tower Hamlets residents’ earnings

Soaring rents in Tower Hamlets mean families are paying an average of almost £7 in every £10 they earn to their landlords, new figures have revealed.

The findings, released by housing charity Shelter, show that the borough’s residents in private housing spend an average of 69 per cent of their earnings on rent – 10 per cent more than the London-wide average.

Median monthly rents in Tower Hamlets hit £1,300 in 2012.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “The news that renting in the capital is unaffordable isn’t a surprise to the Tower Hamlets families who are stuck in the rent trap, unable to save anything towards a home of their own because they’re paying out so much each month in rent.”

The figures come as Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched a public consultation asking the capital’s residents how City Hall can help address the issues facing people in rented accommodation.

Cllr Sirajul Islam, who is Tower Hamlets Labour group’s spokesman for housing, said the figures showed rent in the borough has become “totally unaffordable” for many people.

“I hope that Boris Johnson will take this opportunity to listen and then act to better protect those residents in Tower Hamlets who are forced to shell out unsustainable amounts just to keep a roof over their heads”, he added.

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Tenants are now being urged to prepare for the full brunt of the Coalition government’s housing benefit reforms, set to come into effect in April.

Tower Hamlets Council estimates that more than 2,000 families in the borough will be affected by the changes, and is contacting residents to outline support available to them.

The borough’s Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, warned that the housing benefit changes would exacerbate existing problems for tenants.

“The government’s welfare reforms will have a devastating effect on the borough’s most vulnerable people.

“It will increase overcrowding, drive up rent arrears and force many residents to move home.”

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