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UK Rental Market Nearing Capacity

by Sarah Halloran

According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the private property rental sector in the UK is close to capacity.

The number of new tenancies being released onto the rental market has been at record levels over the past year, but the private rental sector may finally be facing a challenge with meeting demand from tenants.

ARLA conducted a survey across 6,000 of its members in the UK and 74% of those questioned said there were more tenants than properties and that this deficit had reached the highest level since records began.  Demand has slowly continued to outstrip supply and has been that way for the past four quarters.  The problem is particularly acute in London and the South East.

The survey also shows that tenants are staying in their rented properties for much longer with most tenants staying in their properties for 19 months or more.  Tenants seem to be becoming more and more wary of the unstable housing market and choosing instead to ride out the unstable market conditions by renting property instead.

‘The UK cannot rely on the rental sector to support the housing market in perpetuity. The reality is that there is a finite amount of rental property and unless both housing supply and mortgage availability improves then renters will find that their options in the market are reduced,’ said Tim Hyatt, president of ARLA.

‘The Government is doing little to encourage landlords to invest in new properties therefore we are running out of quality stock to offer to tenants. This is reflected in rent increases and a lack of choice for consumers,’ he explained.

‘Within such an intensely competitive market, we would advise tenants and landlords to seek the best possible advice from agents as there will be those that seek to exploit this situation. Engaging with an ARLA licensed letting agent is one way to protect your assets guard against this and guard against unethical operators,’ he added.

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