Undoubtedly, 2018 was another tough year for landlords. With so many tax and regulatory changes over the past couple of years, there was a further decline in the number of buy-to-let acquisitions last year.
Based on figures from UK Finance, the number of buy-to-let mortgages secured in 2018 dropped to below 70,000.
Despite a drop in the number of new private rental properties coming onto the market, the number of tenants experiencing rent increases fell for the fourth month running in December, with 18% of letting agents reporting that landlords increased rents, according to ARLA Propertymark.
The trade body says that last month’s figure is the lowest recorded since December 2017, when the number of tenants experiencing rent rises was 16%.
However, the lack of competition from landlords for properties will inevitably reduce the supply of much needed housing in the private rented market at a time when some buy-to-let landlords are actively reducing the size of their property portfolios or exiting the buy-to-let market altogether, and that is expected to place upward pressure on rental values this year.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, commented: “Although December’s figures indicate that tenants finished the year in the driving seat, they’re in for a rocky ride this year.
“With the Tenant Fees Bill passing its final hurdle in Parliament last week, it is now waiting to receive Royal Assent before being passed into law and implemented on 1st June. This means it’s only a matter of time until we could see rent prices starting to creep up again.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, landlords have faced continued regulatory change and increasing costs over the last few years, and the tenant fees ban will only add to this burden meaning many will either have to start increasing rents for tenants or exit the market.”
Average number of tenants experiencing rent hikes over the year