March 'brought most rent hikes in six months'
March 2018 saw rent increases for 23 per cent of private rental sector tenants, the highest figure since September last year, according to figures from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla).
Arla noted that the increase was less than the 25 per cent who saw a rent rise in March 2017, not to mention the 32 per cent who saw increases in March 2015 and 2016.
September last year, the last month when more tenants saw rents increase than this March, witnessed hikes in 27 per cent of cases.
The Private Rented Sector Report also indicated that both demand and supply are rising in the private rental sector. The number of prospective tenants per agent rose by eight per cent in March, up to 66 from 61 in February. However, this was still down on January's average of 70.
In the case of supply, the number of properties per branch rose, but only slightly from 175 to 179.
Responding to these figures, Arla chief executive David Cox said: "This month’s results very much show a business as usual period for the private rented sector, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
"Supply is still too low and almost a quarter of tenants are experiencing rent hikes every month as landlords try to recoup the costs lost trying to keep on top of all the recent legislative changes, including the recent energy efficiency deadline."
He argued that the level of supply has been constrained by the large array of burdens, both legislative and financial, placed on the sector by governments in the last two decades.
Mr Cox said a key part of the problem had been that the enforcement of many of these new laws had been weak, meaning that while they cost good landlords money, bad landlords were getting away with malpractice.
He added that for this reason, Arla was pleased with news that the government is planning to crack down on rogue agents and give councils powers to seize properties from bad landlords.