(Bloomberg) -- The cost of renting a home in London is rising again, delivering a setback for tenants in one of the most expensive cities for accommodation in the world.

Private rental prices, which flat-lined in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, stood at a record high in July. They have been increasing steadily since the middle of last year, according to Office for National Statistics data published Wednesday.

The figures represent gloomy news for tenants in the U.K. capital, many of whom are forced to rent because of the exorbitant cost of buying a home.

Rents in London are already the highest in Europe and claim a larger proportion of take-home pay than in any other part of the country. Mayor Sadiq Khan last month called for powers to impose rent controls, an idea which critics say would lead landlords to skimp on repairs and reduce the number of properties.

While London rents are still lagging behind inflation, they are rising by almost 1% a year, the fastest pace since the middle of 2017. Real-estate agents expect the upward pressure to continue as growing demand increasingly outstrips dwindling supply.

In a report this month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that many U.K. landlords are starting to sell up because of higher taxes, a ban on charging tenants one-time fees and proposals to abolish section 21 notices, which allows them to evict tenants at the end of their contracts without reason.

“These effects may be now starting to feed through to the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices,” the ONS said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, David Goodman, Lucy Meakin

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