Rents reach record high in UK for third month in a row

Rents in the UK’s private rented sector increased to a record high in July for a third consecutive month, the latest figures from letting agents shows.

ARLA Propertymark’s July Private Rented Sector (PRS) report shows that rent prices rose to a new record high for the third consecutive month.

The number of tenants facing rent rises increased to the highest figure on record with 63% of agents seeing landlords increasing them. This is a 15% increase from June, which was a previous record high.

The data from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) also shows that year on year the number of tenants experiencing rent increases was up from 31% in July 2018 with tenants in the West Midlands worst affected with 86% experiencing a rent increase.

‘Following the Tenant Fees Act coming into force in June, rents have continued to rise, which we believed would happen. The fees agents have been banned from charging are still being paid for by tenants, however it’s now through their rent, rather than upfront costs,’ said David Cox, Chief Executive.

‘The fall in the number of properties available further increases competition in the market, which only pushes rents up or forces landlords to exit the market entirely. As the sector faces increased levels of legislation, its evident this is putting even more pressure on the industry,’ he added.

The report also reveals that letting agents had an average of 184 properties under management per member branch in July, a decrease from 199 in June but demand increased with the number of prospective tenants registered on average per branch rising to 73, compared to 70 in June.

However, year on year, demand has fallen from 79 house hunters registered per branch in July 2018. The number of properties under management is the highest in Scotland, where agents managed 350 properties on average per branch. Supply of properties is lowest in London where agents typically had 147 properties.

In July, the number of landlords exiting the market remained at four per branch. This remains the same from July 2018.

The West Midlands saw the highest number of landlords exiting the market, with agents recording an average of six selling up per member branch. Letting agents in the North East, South West and Scotland witnessed the lowest number, at three per member branch.