Rents across England and Wales have risen by 1.6% in the 12 months to February, according to a new study.
As of February, the average rent across England and Wales stood at £743 a month - the fastest year-on-year increase since November 2013, according to LSL Property Services.
On a monthly basis, however, rents rose by just 0.1% (or approximately £1) between January and February but it was still the first month-on-month increase in residential rents since October 2013.
Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "These figures mean yet another squeeze on the budgets of England's nine million renters.
"Our chronic shortage of affordable homes and sky-rocketing house prices are forcing growing numbers of people into unstable and expensive private lets.
"But the huge cost of renting leave many cutting down on their food or heating, or trapped in homes too small for their families.”
A rise in rent is particularly bad news for students, who are already getting into debt with letting fees, according to a separate study by the National Union of Students (NUS).
More than a third of students are getting into debt to meet the upfront costs of securing a property.
The NUS is calling for proper regulation of letting agents, a well as proposing that an end to letting fees – as has happened in Scotland – would ensure that students have a better idea of the overall costs of renting in the private sector and can budget accordingly.