The average rent paid at the end of 2015 was about £27 a month higher than when the year started, according to an index.

Across England and Wales, private sector rents increased by 3.4 per cent over the course of 2015 to reach £794 per month on average in December, according to the index from estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains.

In December, 2014 the typical monthly rent paid was £27 lower, at £767.

The 3.4 per cent increase is the biggest full calendar year rent rise since 2011, when rents lifted by four per cent over 12 months, the report said.

However, rents did fall slightly, by 0.6 per cent, month-on-month in December.

Despite the general dip, average monthly rents in Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands increased to all-time highs in December, at £556 and £593 respectively, the report said.

Wales and the South East were the only regions where average rents were lower than in December, 2014.

In Wales, average rents fell by one per cent annually to reach £560 on average. In the South East rents fell by 2.6 per cent, taking them to £766 typically.

The East of England recorded the biggest rise in rents over the last year, with a 7.8 per cent jump taking the average rent there to £831 a month. London saw the second biggest annual increase, with rents up by 6.3 per cent to £1,251 on average.

Tenants’ arrears worsened in December, with 9.3 per cent of all rent being late, up from 8.2 per cent in November.

Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move, said: “It seems easy to believe the cost of living issues that previously plagued the UK are over.

“In terms of the weekly shop that might be true – some forms of inflation have been tamed for the time being.

“But the greatest expense in household finances is often housing.”

He continued: “For home owners, low interest rates offer a buffer from bad economic times, but tenants just don’t have the same luxury.”

The index is based on rents achieved on about 20,000 properties.