The number of tenants saying they are using letting agents to find a place to live has increased 12 per cent in the past year claims Zoopla.
It says 48 per cent of tenants used a letting agent to source accommodation this year, a significant uplift from the 36 per cent recorded last year.
The portal says increasing demand for agents’ services will come as a welcome boost for the industry, which is concerned that revenues will fall as a result of the lettings fee ban due next year.
Some 38 per cent of agents canvassed by Zoopla believe their lettings revenue will drop in the next year, in part because of the fee ban but also over concerns about the number of rental properties coming to market.
As a result, 28 per cent of lettings agents plan to increase their use of technology over the next year, while 22 per cent say they will do more marketing.
Some 62 per cent of the 6,000 tenants surveyed by Zoopla said they expect to rent for at least the next three years. Of these, nearly one in four say they are likely to rent indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the proportion of home owners letting out properties rose from 2.4 per cent in 2016 to 4.2 per cent this year.
However, Zoopla’s research reveals that landlords are still facing a myriad of challenges in the current environment.
More than half of landlords surveyed say their biggest challenge is finding suitable tenants; the next biggest challenges for landlords are ensuring tenants look after the property and making sure they pay their rent on time.
Nearly four in 10 landlords say they struggle to keep up with increased regulation, while slightly more than a third are worried about how future legislation will affect them.
“As the market becomes more regulated and complex, the lettings agents that adopt a more consultative approach with both their landlord and their tenant clients to help navigate them through will gain an advantage” says Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla’s property division.