Demand for properties in the private rented sector is up by 22% compared to last year, according to Rightmove.
The data from the property website shows that since letting agents were permitted to reopen on 13 May, the demand for rental homes has increased at a quicker rate than the sales market.
Lockdown break-ups, job losses and urgent relocations are thought to have contributed to an increase in the surge in the rental sector.
Wednesday 27 May saw more than six million people visit the Rightmove website, its busiest day ever.
“They may need to move for a job,” said Miles Shipside of Rightmove. “In this environment we are in now, there is a need for people with specialist jobs to be in a certain place - just think about the Nightingale hospitals that have sprung up.”
He added: “Where some people have enjoyed lockdown, others’ relationships haven't survived it and this has had knock-on consequences.
“There could be people who need to move because of job losses too.
“And working from home has left a lot of people looking for a change in surroundings.
“Effectively we have two months of pent-up demand that needs to be satisfied.”