‘Surge’ in numbers looking for rentals

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January saw a surge in the number of tenants seeking rented accommodation, ARLA Propertymark has reported.

Its letting agent members saw the number of prospective tenant registrations per branch jump from an average of 64 in December, to 81 in January.

This is marginally lower than in January 2020 when the average stood at 88, but is up on 2019 when the figure was 73.

Regionally, Yorkshire & Humberside had the highest number of new tenants registered per branch with an average of 138.

Just under 40 per cent of tenants experienced rent increases in January, Propertymark said. This was an increase from the 30 per cent who experienced rent increases in December.

The number of tenants negotiating a rent reduction fell from 2.2 per cent in December to 2 per cent in January. This is higher than during January 2020 when 1.3 per cent of tenants successfully negotiated a rent reduction. 

Meanwhile, the number of properties managed per letting agent branch fell from 204 in December to 196 in January – but was still up on January 2020 when the average was 191.

The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties remained at four per branch in January.

‘Our latest figures clearly show that the rental market isn’t indicating any signs of slowing down as demand for rental properties surged last month’, said Propertymark chief policy advisor Mark Hayward.

‘Letting agents are continuing to support landlords and their tenants during these ongoing difficult times, and it is imperative that tenancies are maintained to keep the rent flowing.

‘Now we have a route out of the current lockdown, it is vital that continuity in the private rental sector is maintained to continue to help the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. To do this, the Government must consider introducing a financial support package for those tenants who have built up rent arrears due to the financial impact of Covid-19’.