Rental supply fell by a third in London last month, new research shows

The supply of properties for rent in the UK fell by a third in London in April and only increased marginally in the rest of the country, new research shows.

The latest report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) also shows that rents are rising and fewer tenants are negotiating rent reductions.

Last month the number of properties managed per ARLA member branch increased marginally, with agents managing 185 on average, up from 183 in March.

However, in London the number of properties managed per member branch fell by 32% from 148 in March to 101 in April and letting agents had 65 prospective tenants registered per branch.

The data shows that the number of tenants negotiating rent reductions fell from 3.6% in March to 2.8% last month and 23% of letting agents saw landlords increasing rents although this was a fall of 1% compared to March.

The research also found that the number landlords selling their buy to let properties remained the same, with an average of four selling per branch. In March, the number of landlords selling up rose from three to four for the first time since November 2016, when the letting agent fees ban was announced.

In April, tenants stayed in their rental accommodation for an average of 17 months, a decrease from 18 months in March. This is the first time since June 2016 the average length of a tenancy has dropped to a figure this low.

‘Although the rental market in London has seen a large drop in the supply of properties available to rent, it’s a different picture in the rest of the UK where we have seen little or no change to activity since March,’ said David Cox, ARLA chief executive.

‘It’s likely we’re seeing the rest of the rental market outside of London plateau as a result of the election in June, with renters potentially holding back on their property searches until after the vote,’ he explained.

‘It’s important that housing is at the top of the new Government’s agenda, as we have had two elections and a referendum in the last three years which is stalling the policy process meaning that we do not have the right houses available to provide the homes people need,’ he added.