Landlords choose not to increase rents

Steve Lumley·6 July 2020·3 min read
Landlords choose not to increase rents
Growing numbers of landlords are choosing not to increase rents in a bid to help their tenants financially because of the Covid-19 lockdown, it has been revealed.

According to Arla Propertymark, the proportion of rent increases being imposed on tenants fell during May to 14%, which is the lowest level ever recorded.

This follows February's figure when 40% of letting agents and landlords put rents up before the lockdown was initiated.

The latest figure for May is also a big jump on the numbers for May 2019, which saw 45% of tenants seeing rent increases.

Also, the research reveals that tenants are increasingly successful when asking their landlord for a reduction in rent.

Tenants who have successfully negotiated a rent reduction

Arla says that the number of tenants who have successfully negotiated a rent reduction grew to 2.5%, that's the highest figure since March 2019 when 2.9% of tenants were successful.

However, the Covid-19 lockdown, which prevented landlords from showing tenants around properties meant that void periods have increased to five weeks.

That's the longest time that a property has remained empty between tenancies since records began.

Also, the number of managed properties per branch increased to 208, which is slightly higher than the pre-lockdown figure of 201 per branch.

'Landlords have taken the brunt of the pandemic'

Arla's chief executive, David Cox, said: "Our figures show that agents and landlords have taken the brunt of the pandemic.

"They are aware of financial difficulties and are showing tenants empathy and many landlords are not increasing rent where they might have otherwise needed to."

He added that all parties in the rental sector need to ‘keep the rent flowing’ in a bid to sustain the market and help boost the economy.

Arla members manage 47% of rental properties

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that 47% of rental properties are being managed by Arla Propertymark members.

The figure comes from the English Housing Survey which shows there are 4.8 million private rented homes currently.

The data is compiled by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and since Arla has 10,219 branches with an average of 221 properties per branch in England means they are managing around 47% of homes in the private rental sector.

Mr Cox said: “It is encouraging to see a large proportion of the sector seeking professional standards and greater regulation than the law demands.”