Fewer landlords put rents up in March, according to the latest report from ARLA Propertymark but property experts have warned new buy-to-let legislation will mean bigger rent rises.
ARLA Propertymark’s PRS shows 30% of letting agents witnessed landlords increasing rents last month, compared to 34% in February. The rise is partly due to a rise in the number of rental properties on the market, the data shows.
Despite the dip, year-on-year rent figures have risen 30%, from 23% in March 2018.
The number of available properties to rent last month rose to 203 per letting agent branch member – a record high – up from 197 in February. This represents the highest number since records began in 2015.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive said the high number of properties to rent could be due to the impending tenant fees ban which has seen agents sell up or merge.
Year-on-year, the supply of rental property is up by 13%, a rise from 179 per branch in March 2018.
As well as an increase in the number of available rental properties, demand from prospective tenants has also increased, according to the data. Letting agents saw 67 house hunters registered per branch, up two from 65 in February.
The figures also show landlords are continuing to exit the market, although the number has stabilised with the average branch seeing four landlords selling up, the same as the previous month, compared with three last year.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, commented: “Whilst it’s really positive that the number of properties available per branch hit a record high last month, this may be the first signs of the industry consolidating ahead of the tenant fees ban as agents either sell-up or merge. This, coupled with landlords exiting the market and rent costs continuing to rise, means the overall picture is far from positive for renters.
“The full effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the government is introducing yet more new legislation which will deter new landlords from entering the market, such as abolishing Section 21.
“Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned, this news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing, meaning rents will only continue to rise for tenants.”