There has been a significant increase in the number of buy-to-let landlords offloading properties ahead of the introduction of the tenant fee ban this weekend, according to ARLA Propertymark.
The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties in April hit the highest level for 11 months, fresh data from the trade body shows.
There was an average of five landlords per letting agency branch exiting the market in April, up from four in March.
With more landlords exiting the market, the number of properties available to rent dropped marginally to 202 per member branch in April, from 203 in March, which was the highest since records began in 2015.
Year-on-year, supply is up 13%, from 179 per branch in April 2018.
The drop in the supply of rental properties led to a rise in the number of tenants experiencing rent rises in April, with 33% of agents witnessing landlords increasing them, up from 30% in March.
Year-on-year, this figure is up from 24% in April 2017, and 26% in April last year.
Average number of tenants experiencing rent hikes in April year-on-year
The number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions fell from 2.9% in March to 1.9% in April. This is the lowest figure seen since May 2016 when it stood at the same level.
But it is worth pointing out that aside from a drop in housing supply in the PRS, demand from prospective tenants also fell in April, with the number of house hunters registered per branch falling to 64 on average, compared to 67 in March.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, commented: “As predicted, April’s findings have shown an upsurge in the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties.
“On the 1st June, the Tenant Fees Act will come into force in England. This, coupled with the proposed scrapping of Section 21, is forcing landlords to either increase rents or leave the market altogether.
“As supply of rental accommodation falls further, tenants will only be faced with more competition for properties, pushing up rent prices on good-quality, well-managed properties and decreasing tenants’ ability to negotiate rent reductions.
“In order to remain profitable, landlords will increase rents to cover the additional fees they are now faced with and as a result, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”