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Rental sector “in a state of despair” warns lettings agents' chief

[Letting Agent Today was ‘off air’ for some of Wednesday and most of Thursday thanks to technical problems - we apologise to readers but we’re delighted to be back in action now…]


The private rental sector has been left “in a state of despair” as 2019 ends because of a string of government measures and economic and political uncertainty.


That’s the bleak assessment of David Cox, the chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents in a year-end statement.

“It’s no surprise that tenants have suffered intense rent increases this year. We predicted this would happen as soon as the government announced a ban on tenant fees, and since the ban came into force in June, rents costs have continued to spiral” he says. 

“Additionally, due to the significant amount of legislation that landlords face, this year they have continued to exit the market, which coupled with Brexit uncertainty and the looming general election has left the sector in a state of despair. 

“Unfortunately, next year could go the same way, unless something is done to make the sector a more attractive investment.”

Figures back up the stark summary of 2019 from ARLA’s point of view.

They show that overall the supply of rental accommodation increased from 187 on average per branch in 2018, to 197 this year. It reached an annual high in March, when letting agents were managing 203 properties per branch.

As landlords continued to feel the pinch, the number of buy to let investors selling their properties remained high, at an average of four per branch per month in 2019. In April, the figure spiked to five per branch.

The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes hit a record high this year, rising from an average of 26 per cent each month in 2018, to 46 per cent on average this year. This is due to the impact of the tenant fees ban, with 64 per cent of tenants experiencing rent increases in August – the highest figure seen this year.

Agents reported an increased number of prospective tenants searching for homes in August, when 76 were recorded per branch, compared to 73 on average across the year.


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