Landlords have seen rents rise by an average of 2.6% in the UK in the year to February, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that rents in England grew by 2.8%, in Wales they grew by 0.2% and in Scotland rents rose by 0.7%. Landlords in London enjoyed the biggest rise with increases of 3.8% - which means that if those figures are taken out of calculations, the UK's average rent rise in the year to February was 1.9%.
The ONS report also reveals that London has seen higher annual rent increases since November 2010 than the rest of England. After London, the next largest regional rent rise was seen by landlords in the East of England with 3% and then landlords in the South East saw a 2.9% increase.
The landlords who saw the lowest annual rent rise are in the North East with 0.9% and Yorkshire and Humber with 1.3%.
Private rented sector continues to show ‘signs of strength'
The ONS says their figures illustrate that the UK's private rented sector continues to show ‘signs of strength'. In the same report, the ONS also highlights the trend for people to rent outside of London in the search for lower rents but this is helping to push up house prices as landlords strive to meet this growing need.
Indeed, the report highlights the country’s property hotspots with price rises of up to 19% being enjoyed in Slough, Luton, and Reading which are popular commuter towns.
Landlords warned of energy efficiency improvements
Meanwhile, landlords are being warned that tenants will be able to request that they agree to energy efficiency improvements being carried out to the property from Friday 1 April. Under the new legislation, landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent though they do not have to pay for any of the work unless they agree to do so.
It is the tenant's responsibility to ensure that the energy efficiency improvement works are funded by themselves. The properties covered by the new regulations include assured tenancies or a shorthold or tenancy which is a regulated tenancy under the Rent Act 1977.
Landlords also need to be aware that the tenant can apply for carrying out energy efficiency work whether their home has an EPC rating in place at the time of the request. A landlord does not have to give their consent if the property does not fall within the scope of the EPC regulations.
However, landlords also need to beware that all private rented homes will need an energy performance certificate from April 1 2018 after which time the rental property must have a minimum rating of E.