How many private renters are there in the London Borough of Merton?
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics found there are 51,700 private renters in Merton! The current figure is probably higher. That means there are enough private renters to campaign with!
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Merton, the average home costs 13.53 times the average annual salary, home ownership is way out of reach for most people.
Can’t they get a council house, instead?
There are currently 8,229 households on the council housing list in the borough. Most of these people will be living in the private rented sector at the moment.
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector. What’s it going to cost?
Monthly average rents for Merton, recorded by the Valuation Office Agency, are below.
Room in a shared house: £600
Studio flat: £875
One bedroom flat: £1,175
Two-bedroom flat: £1,425
Three-bedroom flat: £1,800
House with four or more bedrooms: £3,000
These figures don’t include fuel bills or council tax; that’s just the rent!
It’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive, then?
Yes – 6,986 private renters in Merton claim housing benefit to cover their rent- that’s higher than the number of council tenants who claim housing benefit.
And does housing benefit cover it?
No. The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get, regardless of whether you’re renting from a private landlord or renting from a housing association or from the council. The monthly housing allowance in Merton depends on which part of the borough you live in, the rates are:
Inner South West London
Shared Accommodation Rate: £408.98
One Bedroom Rate: £1,099.87
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,310.10
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,536
Four Bedrooms Rate: £177.80
Outer South West London (e.g. Wimbledon)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £379
One Bedroom Rate: £896
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,215.93
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,460.16
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,807.09
Outer South London (e.g. Morden)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £357.32
One Bedroom Rate: £746.37
Two Bedrooms Rate: £939.86
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,209.60
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,492.31
Is much private rented accommodation in Merton overcrowded?
9% of privately rented accommodation in the London Borough of Merton is known to be overcrowded
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
Yes. The Environmental Health Housing section will investigate complaints about conditions in privately-rented homes. You can contact them about disrepair, dangerous conditions, or absence of hot water. Telephone 020 8545 3212 or email
If you have a problem with a letting agent charging unexpected fees, not showing a list of their full fees (including VAT) on their website and in their office or not showing their redress scheme membership details, contact
There’s some general advice on renting privately on the Merton Council website, here.
If your landlord is harassing you, or trying to evict you illegally, get in touch with the Housing Options team. They will contact your landlord on your behalf and try to resolve any issues. Telephone 020 8545 3636 or email
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
Not exactly, but tenancy relations issues can be dealt with the Housing Options team.
Do private landlords in Merton have to get a licence?
Merton Council does not operate any selective or additional licensing but by law, all Houses in Multiple Occupation of three storeys or more and home to five people who aren’t members of the same family, must hold a licence. This applies across England and Wales.
Does Merton Council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Does Merton Council have a stand alone PRS strategy in its housing policy?
There is no stand alone PRS strategy in the current draft for the council’s next housing policy, which is under public consultation now (Summer 2017). The council claims to be focusing on homelessness, though. As the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (standard tenancy) is now the most common cause of homelessness, we think that housing policy in Merton, as elsewhere, should address the terms of private renting more comprehensively.
Does Merton Council run a PRS forum where private renters can discuss ways of making private renting fairer?
A landlord forum exists, and Merton Council has considered setting up a tenants’ forum. If you think Merton Council should go further than merely thinking about it, why not email to ask for a renters’ group?
How many prosecutions has Merton Council made against criminal landlords?
We are still waiting for confirmation of an up-to-date figure from the council. We already know that no landlords were prosecuted between 2011 and 2014, though.
Who else should I talk to about making private renting fairer in Merton?
Every council is divided between Councillors, who are elected politicians, and officers, who are employed to do a particular job. In Merton, this person might be useful to talk to: