The number of tenants experiencing rent increases dropped slightly in March thanks partly to a sharp rise in the number of properties to let, according to fresh data and analysis from ARLA Propertymark.
The research shows that 30% of letting agents witnessed landlords increasing rents last month, compared to 34% in February.
However, year-on-year this figure is up 30%, from 23% in March 2018.
ARLA Propertymark’s PRS report reveals that the supply of properties available to rent rose to 203 per member branch in March, from 197 in February – the highest since records began in 2015.
Year-on-year, supply is up 13%, compared to 179 per branch in March 2018.
Demand from prospective tenants also increased, with the number of house hunters registered per branch rising to 67 on average, compared to 65 in February.
The figures also show that in March, the number of landlords exiting the market remained at four per branch. This is up from three last year.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, commented: “Whilst it’s really positive that the number of properties available per branch hit a record high last month, this may be the first signs of the industry consolidating ahead of the tenant fees ban as agents either sell-up or merge. This, coupled with landlords exiting the market and rent costs continuing to rise, means the overall picture is far from positive for renters.
“The full effects of the tenant fees ban have not yet been felt, and now the government is introducing yet more new legislation which will deter new landlords from entering the market, such as abolishing Section 21.
“Until we have greater clarity on the changes planned, this news will only increase pressure on the sector and discourage new landlords from investing, meaning rents will only continue to rise for tenants.”