UK lettings market sees a rise in the number of landlords leaving the sector

The number of landlords leaving the private rented sector in the UK increased in April with letting agents reporting that those selling reached the highest level since 2015.

The number of prospective tenants registered per member branch increased by 9% while a quarter saw rents increase, according to the latest monthly report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Overall the number of landlords selling their buy to let properties rose to five per branch, up from four in March when the figure rose for the first time in almost a year, to four landlords per branch, after sitting at three landlords consistently since April 2017.

The number of prospective tenants registered per member branch continued to rise and agents had 66 tenants on their books on average, the strongest demand seen since September last year, when there were 79 registered per branch.

The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes increased to 26% in April, the highest since September 2017 when 2% of landlords put rents up for tenants and year on year, this has risen from 24% in April 2017.

The number of rental properties letting agents managed remained the same as the previous month in April, with 179 on average per branch. Year on year, this figure is low. In April 2017, agents managed a similar 185 per branch but in April 2016, they managed 185 and 193 were recorded in 2015.

‘The barrage of legislative changes landlords have faced over the past few years, combined with political uncertainty has meant the buy to let market is becoming increasingly unattractive to investors,’ said David Cos, ARLA chief executive officer.

‘Landlords are either hiking rents for tenants or choosing to exit the market altogether to avoid facing the increased costs incurred. This in turn is hitting renters most, at a time when a huge number of people rely on the rented sector, and leaves us with the question of where will these people find alternative homes,’ he pointed out.

‘As demand for private rented homes massively continues to outstrip supply, the Government can no longer divert its attention from the broken housing market. The recent news that the Government is regulating the industry is a step in the right direction, but ultimately we just need more homes,’ he added.