Private landlords faced with significantly higher costs, as a result of recent tax changes, are being left with little alternative but to pass on at least some of the costs to tenants or exit the buy-to-let market altogether, which is causing a reduction in available rented housing stock, adding to the existing supply-demand imbalance in the market, which letting agents report is now contributing to higher rents.
Almost a third - 31% - of letting agents saw rents increase for tenants in July, up from 27% in May, according to the latest PRS report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark).
While this remains unchanged from the percentage of agents that saw rents increase a month earlier, it does represent a rise on the 28% that saw rents increase in July last year.
The number of properties managed per member branch increased marginally in July, to 192 – up from 190 in June, while demand from prospective new tenants increased to 70 in July, from 61 in June.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, commented: “Landlords really are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“All the tax increases they’ve incurred over the last 18 months have meant they either need to sell their properties and exit the market, or increase rent payments to plug the deficit.
“Neither of these outcomes benefit tenants; if they exit the market, supply is even more strained and matched with growing demand, rent prices will increase anyway.
“Government may claim they are helping tenants but the unintended consequences of their actions on the private rental sector are now really being felt by tenants in terms of lack of homes to choose from and the feeling of being constantly priced out of the market. This needs to change.”