In 2022, 8.34 million people were living alone in the UK, accounting for 13% of all households. This marks an increase of around 36,000 compared with the previous year - when, in 2021 around 8.31 million people were estimated to live alone. 

According to Experian, no more than 30% of your annual salary should be spent on rent. To test this theory on UK renters, we will review each area’s median salary and compare it to the average rent price for a one-bedroom property.

Using this data, we will highlight areas where the rental market is unaffordable and compare with the areas that are a good option for solo renters. Additionally, we’ll review search data to see which areas are becoming the most popular with renters.

This research will also reveal the best ways to decorate your home without risking your rental deposit. From changing your door handles to adding removable hooks to hang pictures, our advice will clarify any of your questions regarding decorating your rented space.

The UK’s Best Places for Solo Renting

The UK's Best Places for Solo Renting - top 3 places - Liverpool, Derby and Hartlepool

Hartlepool is the best place for solo renters to live in 2024, according to new research

  • Hartlepool

Solo renting score /10: 8.11

Out of over 200 areas studied across the UK, Hartlepool recorded the best score for its solo living factors - with a score of 8.11. Hartlepool is a seaside town in County Durham, with an estimated population of almost 90,000, making it the second-largest settlement in the county.

Hartlepool scored high for its number of lone households, with 13,616 people living alone, equivalent to 33.3% of all households. The average monthly rent in Hartlepool is £400 for a one-bedroom unit, which is considerably lower than the nationwide average of £606. Hartlepool may not offer the same hustle and bustle of larger cities, but its scenic coastal setting and accessible transport links make it a haven for individuals who enjoy a community feel.

  • Derby

Solo renting score /10: 8.05

Derby, a city on the River Derwent's banks in Derbyshire, scored second in the running for the best solo renter areas, scoring 8.05. Derbeians generally earn a higher wage than people working full-time in other parts of the country (£700 weekly). Plus, the average monthly rent is over £200 cheaper than the national average (£400 for a one-bedroom unit), and 31.3% of all households in the area live alone.

Derby was voted as the best place to live for young people in 2020 and the UK’s most affordable city for buyers in 2021. Whether you’re into art, music, sports, nature or history, Derby has something for everyone.

  • Liverpool

Solo renting score /10: 7.97

Liverpool, the maritime city and seaport of the northwest, placed third in the running with a score of 7.97 out of 10. Liverpool is rapidly developing and affordable, making it a fabulous choice for single households. Liverpool has among the highest number of people living alone, accounting for 36.8% of all households. Searches were also high for people looking to rent in the city, with over 45,900 searches in the last year.

The UK's Best Places for Solo Renting - top 15 ranking

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in the UK

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in the UK - top 3 places -  South Staffs, Swale, and Epsom and Ewell

Epsom and Ewell are the worst places for solo renters to live in 2024, according to new research

  • Epsom and Ewell

Solo renting score /10: 0.64

Epsom and Ewell is a local government district in Surrey, England, and encompasses the two towns named. As the Epsom and Ewell District is just 15 miles south of London, monthly rent prices are high, costing £1,048 for a one-bedroom unit, £442 more than the national average! Despite this, the median weekly wage for residents in the area stands at £569, which is actually lower than the national average. There are also just 24.3% of lone households.

  • Swale

Solo renting score /10: 1.09

Swale is a local government district in Kent, and its council is based in Sittingbourne, the borough's largest town. The Swale area has an average monthly rent price of £700 for a single-bedroom home, £94 more than the average rent price. Median earnings in Swale do not make up for high rent prices, as the average gross weekly income is just £537.

  • South Staffordshire

Solo renting score /10: 1.78

The local government district of South Staffordshire placed third in the ranking for the worst places to live as a solo renter, scoring 1.78 out of 10. South Staffordshire has significantly lower rent costs than others in our top three (£558 on average for a one-bedroom property), but weekly wages are also lower, averaging £515 for full-time workers. The percentage of lone households in this area was slightly higher, totalling 27.2% of overall household numbers.

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in the UK - top 15 ranking

The Average Monthly Rent for a One-Bedroom Property

The Average Monthly Rent for a One-Bedroom Property - average £606

Average: £606 

The average monthly bill for a one-bedroom property was £606 across 269 areas of the UK. According to the ONS, the annual percentage change in rent increased across all regions in the 12 months leading up to June 2023, by 5.1% (excluding London).

The Average Weekly Earnings for Full-Time Employees

The Average Weekly Earnings for Full-Time Employees - average median gross earnings £611

Average median gross earnings: £611

The average median earnings per week across our researched areas is £611, although many areas had higher earnings. According to Statista, wages in the United Kingdom grew by approximately 6.6% in November 2023, but when adjusted for inflation, wages only grew by 1.4% in real terms.

The Average Percentage of Lone Households

The Average Percentage of Lone Households - average median gross ernings 29.81%

Average: 29.81%

The percentage of solo households is 29.81% across the UK compared to all other households. According to the ONS, in 2022, there were 19.4 million families in the UK, an increase of just over 1 million families (5.7%) in the decade since 2012.

The Best Areas to Solo Rent in London


The Best Areas to Solo Rent in Londn - top 3 - Hackney, Camden, Croydon

Croydon is the best place in London for solo renters to live in 2024, according to new research

  • Croydon

Solo renting score /10: 7.42

Croydon is the best place to live for solo renters in London, scoring 7.42 and placing first in this category. Croydon is considerably cheaper than other boroughs in London, with the average rent for a one-bedroom property costing £1,200 per month. Croydon's median gross weekly earnings are £739, slightly higher than the London average (£735). Croydon is also a popular spot to search for properties, with 11,900 searches in the last year, just behind Camden’s 14,400 searches.

  • Camden

Solo renting score /10: 7.34

Camden is London's second-best place for solo living, scoring 7.34 out of 10. Although Camden’s average monthly rent is pricier than the average in London (£1,750 for a one-bedroom property), the median weekly earnings are higher, too (£851 weekly). Camden is also home to the second-highest percentage of lone households in London (38.7% of all households), just behind the City of London’s 51% of households.

  • Hackney

Solo renting score /10: 7.11

Hackney placed third in the running, scoring 7.11 out of 10. Hackney’s rental prices for single people average at £1,600 per month, £133 pricier than the city average. However, the median weekly earnings in Hackney are also higher than average (£808 weekly). High searches for rentals in this borough (12,840 searches in 12 months) suggest that there is an abundance of interest to live here.

The Best Areas to Solo Rent in Londn - top 15 ranked

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in London

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in London - top 3 - Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, and Merton

Merton is the worst London borough for solo renters to live, according to new research

  • Merton

Solo renting score /10: 1.96

Merton recorded the worst score out of all London boroughs for its solo-renting factors, scoring 1.96 out of 10. The median weekly earnings in Merton are £83 less than the London average (£652 weekly). There were far fewer searches for places to rent here (220 searches annually) and a lower percentage of lone households than the average at 25%.

  • Barking and Dagenham

Solo renting score /10: 2.66

Barking and Dagenham placed second in the running, scoring 2.66 out of 10. Barking offers affordable rent options for single people, but the gross weekly earnings are £119 less than the London average (£737) at an income of £616 weekly. There are also fewer lone households (23.7% of all households).

  • Redbridge

Solo renting score /10: 2.89

Redbridge placed third for the worst places to solo rent in London, scoring 2.89 in the ranking. Redbridge’s median weekly wages are just £596 on average, which is £139 less than the London average of £735. The percentage of lone households is also low at 23% of all households. Searches were also far lower for places to rent in Redbridge, with 1,870 searches, nearly 3,200 fewer searches than the average in London.

The Worst Places to Solo Rent in London - top 15 ranked

How to Decorate your Home without Losing your Rental Deposit

How to Decorate your Home without Losing your Rental Deposit - summary graphic

It can be difficult to make your rented property feel like home, and by making decorative changes to your rented property, you could be putting your deposit at risk. So, we want to reveal some small and affordable options (that won’t harm your deposit!) to personalise and decorate your space to make you feel right at home.

  • Hang wall art

Hanging kits, such as removable hooks, are a great solution for hanging pictures and art without damaging walls.

  • Change the door knobs 

One of the best ways to give older bathroom or kitchen units a style lift is by changing the door knobs. Or, to spruce up your kitchen, you can add new cupboard handles to give them a modern finish. Be sure to check with the landlord before going ahead. Make sure to keep the original handles stored away, ready for re-installation should you move out.

  • Invest in quality light fixtures

If your home lacks natural lighting, consider putting some lamps in the corner of the room. You could choose a small table lamp or opt for a stand-out style as a feature piece.

  • Choose stylish storage

Storage baskets are a great cost affordable option as they look stylish in the living room but also work well in bathrooms and bedrooms. They provide a discreet way to conceal clutter in your space.

  • Add soft furnishings

One of the best ways to make your rental place feel more like home is to add soft furnishings like cushions, rugs, curtains, and throws to the corners of your home - this can help to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere.

  • Add some houseplants

Adding some foliage to your living space can add character and charm, and you could even go a step further and DIY your plant pots. 

  • Make the most of your outdoor space

Whether your home has a balcony, small terrace, or tiny back garden, you can highlight your space with a few simple touches. Tactile furnishings like an outdoor rug can make the outdoors feel more comfortable and colourful. You could also invest in foldable chairs and floor cushions for extra cosiness.


The median monthly rental price for a one-bedroom property was taken from the ONS from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees by local authority was taken from the ONS for April 2022.

The number of single-person households by local authority was taken from the ONS Census for 2021. We were able to work out the percentage of single-person households by dividing the number by the number for all households.

Google Keyword Planner was used to collect the number of annual searches for the keywords “rent in AREA” for each listed area.

Each area was given a normalised score out of 10 for each of the above factors before an average of these five scores was taken for the overall solo score out of 10.