News: Renters face rent hikes amid tax changes

Fri, 27 Apr 18

Almost a quarter of tenants experienced rent hikes in March as landlords are left with little alternative but to pass higher costs caused by the government’s decision to increase taxes for landlords onto tenants by increasing rents.

According to ARLA Propertymark’s Private Rented Sector Report for March, 23% of tenants saw their rents increase last month, which is the highest level seen since September 2017 when 27% of landlords put rent costs up for tenants.

However, this level is down 25% year-on-year though.

Some 66 prospective tenants were registered per member branch in March, up 8% compared the previous month. This comes after an increase in January which saw the number of tenants registered per branch jump to 70.2.

But while more people are actively looking to rent, the supply of rental stock is failing to keep pace with the increasing demand.

The number of rental properties letting agents managed increased marginally in March, from 175 in February, to 179 per branch. This is down from an average of 183 in March last year.

The supply-demand imbalance in the rental market is also placing upward pressure rents.

The data for March suggests its “business as usual” for the private rented sector, according to David Cox, ARLA Propertymark’s chief executive, but he believes that “this isn’t necessarily a good thing”.

He commented: “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.

“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 mark 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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