The cost of renting in the UK is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to figures from the National Housing Federation.
The data suggests that UK renters spend an average 39.1% of their income on rent, compared with the European average of 28%.
The NHF said private tenants make up around 17% of all UK residents. Despite being a relatively small proportion of residents, they are facing high costs. According to the figures, rent in Germany and the Netherlands are around 50% cheaper than in the UK.
The UK also eclipses other western European nations such as Germany and Holland, where even though earnings are more similar, private rents are close to 50 per cent cheaper – at €600 and €625 respectively.
The private rental sector has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by a fall in social housing and affordability barriers for people aspiring to own their own homes.
About 4.8m households are now private renters. In the run-up to the election, housing has been a key theme for politicians, and Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green party have all vowed to limit rent rises if they get into power.
Rising house prices and tougher credit conditions have led to many who would previously have bought homes remaining in the rented sector for longer. Although first-time buyer activity picked up in 2014, figures from estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains suggest a sharp fall in the number of new entrants to the market so far this year.
The area with the largest median house price last year was Kensington and Chelsea, in London, at £1.19m. The lowest median average property price was in Blaenau Gwent in Wales at £75,000