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Rent Increases – Worrying

Even more letting agents are witnessing rent increases for private sector tenants, according to the latest survey by the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

The latest ARLA market survey shows that 36% of letting agents report experiencing rent increases in June. This is the highest percentage since ARLA started tracking levels.

Of the ARLA-registered letting agents that responded to the survey, some 80% predicted that tenant rents will continue to increase over the next five years.

Tenants in the East Midlands suffered the most according to the report, with almost 50% of agents stating that rents had increased in June. This compares to only 17% in Wales.

Supply of, and demand for, private rented sector properties shifted slightly during June, with ARLA letting agents reporting an average of 178 properties managed per branch, compared to 179 managed properties in May. The average number of registered prospective applicants remained at 36 per branch, the same figure as for the previous three months.

The ARLA report revealed a 12% drop in the number of managed properties per ARLA letting agent branch. The average dropped from 134 in May to 118 rental properties during June.

ARLA managing Director David Cox commented: “It’s worrying to see so many agents reporting an increase in the cost of rent over the last six months, especially considering that so many people rent as a way to bridge the gap while they save to get onto the property ladder.

“The impact of the Chancellor’s reductions in the amount of tax relief buy-to-let investors can claim – announced in the Emergency Budget this month – will affect the cost of renting over the coming months and is likely to mean it will take even longer to see any improvement in affordability in the private rented sector.”

Victor Jameson of Cambridge Letting Agents New View Residential commented: “A cynical mind might imagine landlords rubbing their hands together at the thought of more rent increases. My experience of Cambridge landlords suggests this is not the case at all.

“Most landlords want to make a reasonable return on their investments; for some this income is a supplement to their pensions. Landlords and letting agents are becoming concerned that these above-inflation rent increases are simply not sustainable and the long-term outcomes will be bad for tenants and landlords alike.”

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