The UK rental market has seen a slump of 11.6 per cent in available stock over the last six years, according to figures from a website.
Home claims that Scotland has seen the most dramatic fall, with a 34.7 per cent decrease in available properties to rent between July 2011 and June 2017.
In Wales over the same period there has been a fall of 28.1 per cent while the South West has seen a decline of 26.5 per cent.
There was a decrease of 24.6 per cent in the East Midlands, a fall of 20.8 per cent in the South East and a drop of 16.7 per cent in the West Midlands.
Just one area, the North East, saw a rise in supply, bucking the national trend with an increase of 33.4 per cent in available property to rent.
In addition to tenants clearly remaining in situ, the website suggests there are three main reasons who the available stock supply has dropped so significantly.
Firstly, landlords may have sold as a result of the changes in mortgage interest tax relief, introduced in April and becoming stricter each year until 2020. Another factor, says Home, has been the increased red tape involved in additional licensing for Homes of Multiple Occupancy, whereby councils can impose their own licensing on HMOs. A third disincentive for landlords was the change in stamp duty last year.
“It is ironic that the government’s justification for tax changes in the PRS was to ‘level the playing field’ for wannabe homeowners. The result of this barrage of red tape and taxation, at both local and national government levels, has meant that the supply of rental properties has fallen behind demand in most regions thereby driving up rents” says Home’s director, Doug Shephard.
“The ‘elephant in the room’ for the government is that record low mortgage interest rates have driven unprecedented investment in the private rental sector over recent years. Simply put, those already with significant home equity have been able to come up with deposits for properties intended to let whilst aspiring homeowners are as cash-strapped as ever as they pay out huge sums in rent. However, ultra-low interest rates and the associated pain for renters look set to persist for the foreseeable future” he adds.