Contrary to recent figures from Zoopla and others, pointing to double-digit rental inflation in the past year, official statistics show the typical private sector rent rose only 2.7 per cent in the 12 months to April.
In response to the lower figure, from the Office for National Statistics, Propertymark’s chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “The private rented market needs significant investment just to get it back to the point where it can cope with the demand which has been pushing rents up sharply in recent months, adding to the cost of living.
“Many landlords are already selling up and our member agents tell us those properties are not staying in the rental market. One says properties available to rent are down 47 per cent with inquiries from potential tenants up 60 per cent. This is unsustainable.
“In renewing its commitment in the Queen’s Speech to getting rid of Section 21, the quickest and simplest mechanism by which a landlord can regain possession if needed, the UK Government has said it will strengthen legitimate grounds for taking possession of a property.
“We need to know what that will look like without delay if this important area of the housing market is to regain the confidence of investors.”
And Emma Cox, managing director of real estate at specialist buy to let lender Shawbrook, comments: “A slowdown could be on the cards for the property market with inflation close to hitting double figures in April.
“… For those waiting to get onto the property ladder, the private rental sector will play an important role in offering safe and secure housing. Landlords will be keen to adapt their properties in order to suit tenant demand. Energy efficiency will be a priority, particularly with the EPC proposals currently on the table and rising energy prices.
“Tenants have already started to look for properties with bills included within the rent in order to mitigate against any future rises. Landlords looking to attract tenants and stay compliant will likely be expediating their renovation plans to improve the EPC ratings of their properties.”
Taking a contrary outlook, unsurprisingly, is the Generation Rent group of activists.
In a tweet responding to the 2.7 per cent annual rent rise, the group says: “Private rents are rising at their fastest rate since 2016. With inflation at 9.0 per cent and energy prices expected to rise further, that means tenants will get ill, go hungry or fall behind on rent and face eviction.”
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