Working out the price point for letting out a property is often a problem for landlords – but official data reveals the open market rents charged across many towns and cities.

The Valuation Office Agency – a government body charged with valuing business rates, rents and properties for council tax bandings and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) publishes open market rental data each month.

The latest bulletin of Local Reference Rents for July 2015 breaks down weekly rents charged for single rooms in houses in multiple occupation (HMO) or larger homes by number of rooms across 150 towns and cities in England.

Landlords can match properties to geographic areas and then by property type, such as:

  • Single rooms that are with board, shared facilities or self-contained
  • Homes with two to six rooms

The data is based on local open market rents charged by private landlords.

Landlords can also back track historical data by month to see if the local trend is rising or falling rents for letting properties.

The data shows the cheapest place to rent a room in an HMO is Sunderland, where the weekly cost is £56. The most expensive place to rent a similar room is Central London, where the weekly cost is an average £207.

The average across all locations is £77 a week.

Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, is the cheapest place to rent a six room house, where the weekly rent is £143.08. Again, the most expensive place to let a house like this is Central London, with a weekly rent of £1,700.

​The average rent for a six room house is £270.97 a week across England.

For new landlords, the information is useful for working out likely annual rental returns for a buy to let or HMO.

The figures are independent of input by estate agents or political influence, so also offer some confidence when compared to corporate indices based on smaller statistical bases – such as those published by estate agents or landlord insurance providers.

To find out how much rents are in your town or city, download the data as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.