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Parents and pet owners pay up to £460 more on top of rent and bills than other renters

New research reveals how landlords have whacked up prices to cover for additional cleaning fees, deposits or bonds

Published on 4th October 2023
  • Three in 4 (75%) renters say their rent has increased by £77, on average, in the past 12 months. That makes the average monthly cost £586.
  • When considering the expense of bills on top, renters could be forking out as much as £1,653, on average, each month. That excludes general everyday expenditure, such as travel costs and food shops.
  • For renters who have had to pay for repairs inside their property themselves, 2 in 3 (66%) say their landlord never reimbursed them.
  • So with costs mounting up, it may be no surprise that only 2 in 5 (38%) have any type of insurance protection. But not protecting yourself could have its implications.
  • Home and lifestyle expert, Matthew Harwood at Confused.com home insurance explains why contents insurance can be essential for renters, and how potential changes to legislation may help renters further on down the line.

Parents or pet owners are paying as much as £460 more on their rent and bills, compared to other renters.

New research reveals how landlords may have bumped up rental fees for those with pets or children to cover things like cleaning fees, deposits or bonds. That’s according to new data from Confused.com, who asked 2,000 UK renters about their current living situation.

According to the research, 1 in 3 renters (33%) currently have a pet at their rental property, while around 3 in 10 (29%) have children. Of these, 1 in 7 (13%) have had to pay their landlord an additional bond or deposit and 1 in 10 (10%) had to pay an extra cleaning fee. But despite more people surveyed being pet owners, it seems that it’s parents who are financially penalised the most by their landlord. Parents have paid as much as £286, on average, to their landlord for deposits or bonds, while those with pets have paid around £236, on average. And when it came to cleaning fees, parents have had to fork out £174, on average, compared to £151 from those with pets.

And while some renters are paying more than others, it seems that the majority of renters are seeing an increase overall. When looking at average costs for all renters, monthly rent is currently around £586 per month. But 3 in 4 (75%) of all renters also said that this has increased, on average, by £77 in the past 12 months. That’s up by 15% in a year, which is more than the average rise of inflation (9%)(1) over the same time frame.

On top of rental costs, ‘essential’ bills, such as electricity and council tax are costing renters around £352, on average, each month. And for other additional expenses such as service charge and cleaning fees, renters pay around £129 in total each month. But through the research, the data did also reveal that, on average, the majority (75%) of renters didn’t pay for these at all.

But for those who are having to pay both, this could mean total outgoings of around £1,067 on top of their monthly rental costs. That brings the total to £1,653. And when you consider every day expenditure for things like travel costs and food shops, it could easily begin to stack up.

Essential bills:

Council tax

Other bills:

Building's insurance
Cleaning fees
Service charge

And these costs don’t include expenditure for repairs and maintenance either, which could add even more financial strain on top. Especially if their property is prone to issues. In fact, 8 in 10 (82%) renters said that they’ve experienced this in their rental property. The most common issues were:

  • Damp / mould (44%)
  • Issues with their boiler / heating system (41%)
  • Plumbing (40%)
  • Wear and tear (26%)
  • Broken / faulty appliances (23%)

And for those who had to fork out for these repairs themselves, on average these cost:

Damp / mould
Boiler / heating system
General wear and tear
Broken / faulty appliances

But that’s not all. Renters also claimed that they paid out for things like improving insufficient storage space and replacing broken or dirty furniture left by previous tenants. These both cost around £127 each. Although these costs don’t always have to be covered by the landlord, as, for example, some properties may come unfurnished or already have space to store belongings. And as long as the property is in good condition, the landlord may not put their hands in their pocket to provide things they don’t legally have to. That’s why it’s always worth tenants checking their contracts to see what’s covered in their rental agreement.

And for those who have paid for repairs themselves, it seems landlords aren’t always inclined to refund tenants for any money they’ve spent. That’s as 2 in 3 (66%) say their landlord didn’t reimburse them for costs they paid out of their own pocket. But for those who had either a full or partial refund (34%), landlords paid back around £77, on average.

But renters do also have landlords who are responsive. For renters who’s landlord sorted these issues out for them, around 1 in 3 (32%) say that these were fixed between 2 - 5 days. But some saw longer time frames. Around 1 in 10 (11%) waited for more than 1 month to get issues fixed, and 13% are still waiting for their repairs to be made. Despite this, the majority of people surveyed said that they have a very good (37%) or somewhat good (32%) relationship with their landlord. Although 2 in 5 (42%) do also think that landlords or estate agents are taking advantage of renters in the current financial climate.

If tenants have a problem with their property, they should always speak to the landlord or estate agent before trying to resolve it themselves. Doing so could mean that renters aren’t forking out for costs that they maybe can’t afford. And highlighting an issue could be beneficial to the landlord, who can look at rectifying it as quickly as possible. The rules for renters could be confusing, as different rules apply depending where you live in the UK. For example, in England, landlords can only charge 1 week’s rent for a holding deposit, while this isn’t allowed at all in Scotland(2). That’s why it’s important to check contracts before signing the dotted line. And as a landlord, it’s also important to know too what exactly you can and can’t do when it comes to your tenant’s rights. Especially if you own properties in different parts of the UK.

According to the latest research, the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill seems to be welcomed by the majority of renters. That’s as more than half (54%) of the survey respondents said they think the Bill will protect tenants. For now, the Bill is likely to be passed in England, but more than 1 in 3 (37%) said they hope the Bill will also be passed across the rest of the UK. If passed, laws will mean that landlords cannot refuse tenants with pets, children or who receive benefits. It will also mean tighter laws on the financial elements of renting, and eviction rights.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that monthly expenditure for renters is high all across the UK, and some are clearly worse off than others. And with those who have pets or children likely to pay more than other renters, the financial implications could be huge. Especially if those tenants are also having to cover for things like repairs and maintenance too. But it’s not just the landlord's property that they may have to pay out for if not careful.

Damages can happen all around the home, which is why it’s important for tenants to protect themselves and their possessions in case anything were to go wrong. Data gathered by Confused.com found that renters have personal possessions at their rental properties worth around £8,923, on average. But less than 2 in 5 (38%) have any type of insurance protection. But with monthly outgoings already expensive for many, taking out extra financial commitments may be difficult. And with cost of living pressures still prominent, you can understand why so many may want to take the risk and leave themselves uninsured. But that isn’t the right approach to take.

Home and lifestyle expert, Matthew Harwood at Confused.com home insurance comments:

“Our latest data shows how renters with pets or children may be paying more than others - which could seem very unfair. But potential new rules for landlords could mean that this changes in the near future.

“With the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill soon in England, both landlords and tenants should have greater clarity on their living arrangements and financial commitments. And although this doesn’t exist elsewhere in the UK just yet, it doesn’t mean similar rules won’t apply down the line. The changes should mean that some tenants won’t be financially penalised, leaving them with some additional income during a difficult and costly time.

“And with overall monthly rent costs on the increase, it’s understandable why some renters aren’t committing to extra expenses. Contents insurance is a prime example, as less than half of renters had this. But if something were to go wrong, not insuring belongings could be catastrophic in the long run. And with personal possessions valued at more than £8,000, on average, renters could stand for a lot to lose. And it could be cheaper than you first think. To calculate how much protection you may need, our contents calculator can give you a rough estimate, helping you budget in the long run.”


Notes to editors

Media information:
Confused.com press office:


About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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