Rental market hit hard as landlords sell up, report reveals

The rentals market faces a potential crisis as more landlords sell up or push up rents for tenants, in the face of increasing legislation, a property leader has warned.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, called for action from the Government following the ARLA Propertymark April Private Rented Sector Report.

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He said: "The barrage of legislative changes landlords have faced over the past few years, combined with political uncertainty has meant the BTL market is becoming increasingly unattractive to investors.

"Landlords are either hiking rents for tenants or choosing to exit the market altogether to avoid facing the increased costs incurred.

"This in turn is hitting renters most, at a time when a huge number of people rely on the rented sector, and leaves us with the question of where will these people find alternative homes?

"As demand for private rented homes massively continues to outstrip supply, the Government can no longer divert its attention from the broken housing market. The recent news that the Government is regulating the industry is a step in the right direction, but ultimately we just need more homes.”

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The report revealed that in April, letting agents saw the highest number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties since records began in 2015. The number of landlords exiting the market rose to five per branch, up from four in March.

In March, the figure rose for the first time in almost a year, to four landlords per branch, after sitting at three landlords consistently since April 2017.

The number of prospective tenants registered per member branch continued to rise, increasing by nine per cent in April. In March, agents had 66 tenants on their books on average, compared to 72 in April.

This is the strongest demand seen since September, when there were 79 registered per branch.

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The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes increased to 26 per cent in April – the highest since September 2017 when 27 per cent of landlords put rents up for tenants.

Year on year, this has risen from 24 per cent in April 2017.

The number of rental properties letting agents managed remained the same as the previous month in April, with 179 on average per branch.

Year on year, this figure is low. In April 2017, agents managed a similar 185 per branch but in April 2016, they managed 185 and 193 were recorded in 2015.