Power shifts to tenants as rent reductions hit record high

The number of tenants negotiating rent reductions hit a record high last month, say letting agents.

ARLA Propertymark’s October Private Rented Sector (PRS) Report showed that the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions jumped from 2% in September to 3.7% in October.

This is the highest figure since the trade body started recording the data in 2015.

The number of tenants experiencing rent increases fell for the second month running in October, with 24% of the 217 agents who responded to the poll reporting that landlords increased rents, compared with 31% in September and 40% in August.

The supply of available properties hit a new high, rising from 194 in September to 198 in October.

This is the highest figure seen since December 2017, when supply stood at 200 and is up 9% annually.

Demand also increased during October, with the number of tenants registered per branch rising to 71 on average, compared with 63 in September.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “Last month’s findings indicate that power in the rental market could be shifting towards tenants, with a record number negotiating rent reductions, and less landlords hiking rent costs.

“However, it’s more likely that this is indicative of the time of year, and come the new year, we’ll see rent prices starting to creep up again.

“There’s no real way of avoiding it unfortunately: with landlords facing continued regulatory change, increasing costs will be passed on to tenants.

“Those who don’t pass the costs on will eventually have to exit the market, which will increase competition and boost prices. It’s the ultimate ‘lose, lose’ situation.”

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