Boost for buy-to-let landlords: rent and demand for properties on the up

Demand for rental properties has increased, along with monthly rents, new data from ARLA Propertymark has revealed.

It is welcome news for landlords who have been faced with a barrage of legislation changes and an uncertain market that have impacted their income.

Prospective tenants rise by 8%

Figures from the industry body found that the number of prospective tenants registered per lettings agency branch increased by 8 per cent in March.

In February, agents had 61 tenants on their books on average, compared to 66 in March this year.

The data also revealed that the number of tenants experiencing rent increases went up to 23 per cent in March, the highest level since September last year when 27 per cent of landlords put rent costs up for tenants.

Rents increase 9% in 5 years

Separate research published earlier this month found that the average rent nationwide - excluding London - is £761, with London’s average being £1,879.

The findings by buy-to-let mortgage lender Landbay found that the increase in year-on year rents in March this year continued the upward trend seen during the past five years. They rose 1.21 per cent year-on-year for the whole of the country, excluding London.

John Goodall, chief executive of Landbay, said: “Rents have continued to rise over the last five years, increasing by 9 per cent across the UK since March 2013 and by 7 per cent in London.”

Legislative changes the root cause of landlord woes

While the market stability looks positive on the surface, David Cox, the chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, says it could be masking the real issues. Rent hikes suggest landlords are trying to recoup losses caused by the recent legislative changes - including the recent energy efficiency deadline.

He added: “For the last two decades, successive Governments have passed significant amounts of complex legislation for landlords, none of which have been properly policed or adequately enforced – but most of which cost decent landlords a lot of money.

“This is why we’re so supportive of the Government’s proposals to crack down on rogue agents and more recently, plans to confiscate properties from criminal landlords. The announcements make a sensible shift towards focusing on the root cause of the issues affecting the sector, rather than trying to find solutions to individual problems. This, coupled with greater rental stock is the key to fixing Britain’s broken rental sector.”

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