The latest monthly report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents puts the number of rental properties managed by agents at an average 186 per branch.
This figure - which relates to May, the latest information available - is the highest recorded for this year and a four per cent increase from the previous month, when agents managed 179 per branch.
The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes increased to 28 per cent in May, up from 26 per cent in April; this in turn is the highest level since August 2017 when 35 per cent of landlords put rents up for tenants.
Meanwhile the number of prospective tenants registered per member branch dropped significantly in May, with 60 per branch compared to 72 in April – a 16 per cent dip.
This is the lowest demand seen since December 2017, when there were 59 registered per branch.
The number of landlords exiting the market remained at five per branch in May.
"There’s a chronic supply shortage in the rental market at the moment, and while it’s positive that the number of properties available to rent seems to be rising, this is just a drop in the ocean; it isn’t nearly enough to fix the market for tenants” claims David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive.
“Competition is getting more and more fierce, and with legislative changes hitting landlords from all sides, the cost of renting is only increasing. The government’s recent announcement around licensing changes for landlords is a prime example; licensing doesn’t work and it never has done. It means councils will spend time and energy administering schemes, rather than concentrating on increasing housing stock in their areas, and enforcing against rogue, criminal landlords.
“Coupled with the gradual removal of mortgage interest relief, new energy standards for landlords and the ever-increasing fees for these schemes, landlords are being expected to bear more and more costs; which is probably why the number of landlord leaving the market has remained at the all-time high we saw last month. We’re all striving for the same end goal of improving the private rental sector for consumers, but the only thing which will truly create a better – fairer – market, is a dramatic increase in supply.”