Not everyone can afford to buy a home, with house prices increasingly on the rise. This has meant more and more Brits are renting rather than buying, giving themselves the name ‘Generation Rent.’

Whether you’re renting while you save for a deposit to buy a home, or you’re choosing to rent for other reasons, it’s likely you’ll want to live in a city that makes it easier for you. That’s why Insulation Express has uncovered which cities are the best and the worst for renters.

Key Findings:

  • Plymouth is the most renter-friendly city, having the lowest unemployment rate at 2.8%. As well as having the lowest crime rate out of the 30 cities - 59.4 per 1,000 people. The city also scored high for the percentage of income spent on rent at just 32%.
  • Luton is the least renter-friendly city, scoring low on most metrics, such as the share of salary spent on rent; 41%. But, especially private tenant evictions. This city has the highest number of private tenant evictions at 22.3 evictions per 1,000 private rented properties.
  • Derby is the most affordable city, tenants here spend just 22% of their wage on rent.
  • Manchester has the highest crime rate of all the 30 cities at 164.1 per 1,000 people.
  • London tenants face the most financial strain, spending 64% of their salary on rent, followed by Reading spending 49% of their income on rent.
  • Belfast has seen the highest rent rise; increasing by 2.2% over the past year.

Analysing 30 of the most populous British cities, Insulation Express considered a number of factors. This includes the percentage of the average salary spent on rent, tenant evictions, the number of private rented properties, annual rent rises, unemployment rate and the crime rate - all revealing the best cities for renters.

Did your city make the list? Read on to discover below.



Plymouth is Crowned the Best City for Renters

Tenants in Plymouth can receive a first-class renting experience, as this city placed first in the Insulation Express analysis.

Plymouth renters spend less than a third (32%) of their income on rent. This is half (50%) of what London pays, and 34% less than Reading.

What’s more, the unemployment rate is the lowest in the top 10 cities (2.8%), and the crime rate is the smallest of all the 30 cities analysed. In Plymouth, there are 59 recorded crimes per 1,000 of the population, which is 38% lower than the national average (95 per 1,000 people).


Edinburgh Narrowly Misses out on Top Spot for Renters

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more north to rent, then Edinburgh could be your best bet. The Scottish capital just narrowly missed out on a first-place for renters, with a score of 98.9%.

Insulation Express’ research revealed that renters in Edinburgh have a bounty of private rented properties to choose from – 133 per 1,000 of the population. This is 68 (per 1,000 people) more than the least rent-friendly city, Luton.

Although renters in Edinburgh spend 39% of their income on rent, they are not likely to see any detrimental rental price rises, as since last year rent has increased by just 0.6%. The only other cities to see such a low figure are Glasgow (0.6%), Newcastle Upon Tyne (0.5%) and Sunderland (0.5%).

Amazingly, Edinburgh’s crime rate is 36% lower than the UK’s average at just 60 recorded crimes per 1,000 people. In comparison, Manchester, the city with the highest crime rate (164.1 per 1,000 people) out of the 30 cities evaluated, has a huge 104 more recorded crimes per 1,000 people than Edinburgh.

The third best city for renters was Cardiff (85.3%) before Southampton and Glasgow were placed joint fourth place (both 82.1% renter-friendly).


Luton is the Least Renter-Friendly City

Insulation Express’s data revealed that Luton is the UK’s least favourable city for renters, scoring 47% in the study.

For starters, Luton has the highest amount of evictions out of the 30 cities analysed – racking up 22 evictions per 1,000 private rented properties. This could be owing to the fact that Luton’s renters can’t afford their monthly rent. According to housing charity, Shelter, spending 33% or more of your income on rent is deemed unaffordable. However, research by Insulation Express reveals Luton’s rent costs tenants here 41% of their wage, which is 8% over the affordable bracket.

Likewise, renting fees have increased substantially over the last year at 1.5%. By comparison, Newcastle and Sunderland have the lowest annual rent rise at 0.5%.


Leicester is the Second Least Rent-Friendly City

Leicester is the second most unfriendly city for renters, gaining a total of 51% ‘renter-friendly’ in the analysis.

Renters here may have trouble finding a private rented property, with just 51 private rented properties per 1,000 people, which is over half of what Newcastle has to offer (106.18 private rented properties per 1,000 people).

What’s more, Leicester is home to one of the second-highest rent price hikes in a year, at 2.1%, just missing the highest price hike in Belfast (2.2%).

Additionally, tenants here face an uncomfortable unemployment rate at 3.9% - 1.1% higher than Bristol’s.

Revealed: The Cities that Put the Most Financial Strain on Renters

To avoid significant financial strain on tenants, Shelter recommends spending no more than 33% of your income on rent. Anything over this is ‘unaffordable’ and anything over 50% is ‘extremely unaffordable’.

So, based on this analysis which cities are deemed unaffordable?

  1. London - 64.2% of salary is spent on rent.
  2. Reading - 49.0% of salary is spent on rent.
  3. Bristol - 42.9% of salary is spent on rent.
  4. Luton - 41.1% of salary is spent on rent.
  5. Edinburgh - 38.9% of salary is spent on rent.

Renters in London face the most crippling rent prices, with rent eating up 64% of an average Londoner’s salary. To put that in perspective, tenants in London just have over a third (36%) of their wage left to spend on food, bills and personal spending.

However, 40 miles outside of London in Reading this drops to 49%, which is 15% less than what Londoner’s are spending of their income on rent. While considerably less of a financial strain, this is still a huge pressure on finances for Reading renters. As opposed to tenants in Nottingham who spend 17% less of their wage on rent, at 30.4%.

The Most Affordable Cities for Renters

In addition, Insulation Express also uncovered which cities spent the least amount of their salary on rent. The results are as follows:

  1. Derby - 22.0% of salary is spent on rent.
  2. Sunderland - 23.0% of salary is spent on rent.
  3. Stoke-on-Trent - 23.2% of salary is spent on rent.
  4. Newport - 23.3% of salary is spent on rent.
  5. Hull - 24.1% of salary is spent on rent.


According to Insulation Express’ research, Derby is the most affordable city for renters. Tenants in this city spend just 22% of their salary on rent, leaving them with over three quarters (78%) of their salary to spend on remaining bills and personal spending.

The northern city, Sunderland, takes second place for the cheapest city for renting. Rent here consumes only 23% of renters’ salaries. Both Stoke-on-Trent and Newport, score third and fourth lowest priced city for rent.


Luton Has the Highest Number of Private Tenant Evictions

Unfair evictions are still a common problem British tenants face, putting renters at risk of becoming homeless. Insulation Express discovered which cities have the most evictions:

  1. Luton - 22.3 evictions per 1.000 private rented properties.
  2. Newport - 22.1 evictions per 1.000 private rented properties.
  3. Northampton - 21.1 evictions per 1.000 private rented properties.
  4. Manchester - 20.3 evictions per 1.000 private rented properties.
  5. Derby - 17.1 evictions per 1.000 private rented properties.

As well as Luton being the worst city for renters, the city also takes the title for the highest number of tenant evictions. In the past year, Luton’s private landlords filed for 22.3 evictions per 1,000 private rented properties in the area.

By comparison, London has the lowest amount of evictions out of 30 cities analysed. London has just 0.51 evictions per 1,000 properties. Additionally, Swansea, Leeds and Sheffield are the second, third and fourth lowest cities for evictions – with 2.2, 5.09, and 5.11 evictions accordingly.


While renting can be costly, you could save a considerable amount by sharing with a tenant. And you could save even more if you lived in the most affordable city – Derby. However, if you’re looking for a city that’s an all-rounder to rent in, then the most rent-friendly city, Plymouth, may be your best option.