The Association of Residential Lettings Agents says the feared sell-off of private rental units is continuing apace on the eve of the Fees Ban.
In April, letting agents saw the highest number of landlords selling their buy to let properties since May 2018, with the number of landlords exiting the market rising to five per branch, up from four in March.
Meanwhile the number of tenants experiencing rent rises increased in April, with 33 per cent of agents witnessing landlords increasing them, up from 30 per cent in March.
Year-on-year, this figure is up from 24 per cent in April 2017, and 26 per cent in April 2018.
In April this year, the number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions fell from 2.9 per cent in March to 1.9 per cent in April. This is the lowest figure seen since May 2016 when it stood at the same.
The number of properties available to rent dropped marginally to 202 per member branch in April, from 203 in March, which was the highest since ARLA’s records began in 2015.
Year-on-year, supply is up 13 per cent, from 179 per branch in April 2018.
Demand from prospective tenants also decreased in April, with the number of house hunters registered per branch falling to 64 on average, compared to 67 in March.
“As predicted, April’s findings have shown an upsurge in the number of landlords selling their buy to let properties. The Tenant Fees Act, coupled with the proposed scrapping of Section 21, is forcing landlords to either increase rents or leave the market altogether” explains David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive.
“As supply of rental accommodation falls further, tenants will only be faced with more competition for properties, pushing up rent prices on good-quality, well-managed properties and decreasing tenants’ ability to negotiate rent reductions. In order to remain profitable, landlords will increase rents to cover the additional fees they are now faced with and as a result, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”