Rent Hikes ‘Fuelled By Landlord Exodus’
The growing exodus of landlords leaving the buy to let market has led to the highest number of tenants experiencing rent hikes since August, figures reveal.
According to Arla Propertymark, 34% of letting agents saw landlords increase rents in February - that compares to January's figure of 26%.
This increase is the highest figure recorded by Arla since August when 40% of tenants saw their rents rise.
Year-on-year, the figure is up 14% from February 2018 and the number of tenants who saw rents being reduced fell to 2.3%.
However, the number of landlords who left the buy to let market increased, on average, to four per branch while last month and in February last year it was three landlords leaving the market.
Number of prospective tenants fell in February
Also, the number of prospective tenants fell in February and the number of rental properties being managed remained steady at 197.
The chief executive of Arla, David Cox, said: "Private rent costs, according to the Office for National Statistics' data, grew by 1% over the year to February.
"Our data reveals that the tenant numbers who negotiated a successful rent reduction also fell.
"We have warned this would happen as landlords are continuing to exit the market and growing legislation is deterring new landlords from entering."
He added that unless the Government makes the prospect of investing in the UK's private rental sector more attractive then there will be no increase in housing supply and tenants will be affected.
Tenants being 'failed' by councils not tackling rogue landlords
Meanwhile, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is warning that councils in England are not using powers they have for dealing with rogue landlords – and failing tenants as a result.
According to figures produced in a Parliamentary answer, in the 18 months to September last year, councils made just three Rent Repayment Orders.
The figures highlight research from the association that councils are failing to use their new powers to fine a landlord up to £30,000 when they do not provide acceptable housing.
The RLA's policy director, David Smith, said: "Councils are failing good landlords and tenants and they talk about needing new powers, the reality is that councils are not using properly the powers they have already.
"Having a law without enforcement means nothing and it is now time for councils to act against criminal landlords."