Private rents levels under scrutiny
Private rents in South Tyneside are among the most affordable in England for average earners, new figures suggest.
The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom property in the borough was £375 in 2019/20, according to the data from the Valuation Office Agency.
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show the median salary of a full-time worker was £26,840 in 2020 – meaning a tenant living alone would spend just 17% of their pre-tax income on rental costs every month.
But housing charity Shelter said private rents have risen to "grossly unaffordable" levels elsewhere in the country - with the coronavirus pandemic only fuelling the issue.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said hundreds of thousands of renters nationally are now "struggling to make ends meet" amid the economic fallout of the pandemic.
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She said: "Private renting is already grossly unaffordable. Rents have outpaced wages for years and now the pandemic is turbo-charging the problem.
"Many have had to turn to benefits for the first time, only to find the support available doesn’t come close to covering most rents."
She added that "decades of failure" to build new social homes means millions are trapped in the private renting cycle, with rising demand causing a spike in costs.
"Private renters spend more of their income on housing costs than anyone else," she said.
Earlier this month, the Government announced it would extend its ban on enforced evictions to protect vulnerable renters who are struggling amid the pandemic.
It means bailiffs cannot carry out repossessions until early March at the earliest, unless in extreme circumstances.