Association of Residential Letting Agents Central Housing Group

Rent increases slow and tenancies lengthen despite Covid

The number of tenants experiencing rent increases fell by almost a fifth in the year to the end of September according to ARLA Propertymark’s latest market snapshot.

Some 40 per cent of agents witnessed landlords increasing rent in September – the latest data available – compared to 48 per cent in August.

This is also 18 per cent lower than in September 2019, when the figure stood at 58 per cent – ARLA says this shows landlords are providing much needed support for tenants during the pandemic.

The number of new prospective tenants also fell for the first time in September since the housing market reopened after the spring lockdown in May.

The average letting agent branch registered 82 new tenants in September, a decrease from 101 in August.

The number of new tenants per branch in September is the lowest since February this year, when there were also 82 tenants registered ahead of the market temporarily closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile the number of rental properties available per letting agent branch fell from 208 in August to 193 in September. Year-on-year this is the same figure as in September 2019.

The number of landlords selling their buy to let units rose from four per branch in August, to five in September.

Year-on-year this is the highest figure on record for the month of September with the previous record sitting at four in both 2018 and 2019.

“Our latest figures show that letting agents are continuing to support landlords and their tenants during the ongoing pandemic with rent increases down by almost a fifth year on year and renters staying in their tenancies for longer” explains Angela Davey, ARLA Propertymark’s new president.

“As we head towards winter and further uncertainty due to increasing lock down measures, it is vital that tenancies are maintained. To this end, with the furlough scheme finishing … Westminster must follow the Scottish and Welsh authorities in providing a package of support to tenants to keep the rent flowing” she adds.

“This is absolutely vital in keeping people with Covid-related arrears in their homes and ensuring that landlords continue to have funds to make mortgage payments.”

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