- By Kevin Pechey
- Cost of living correspondent
A lack of properties to meet tenant demand – driving up the cost of renting – is strikingly consistent, experts say.
An agent said the rental market in his area was “frenzied” due to fierce competition among tenants for accommodation.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said the proportion of its members reporting growth in demand hit its highest level in five months in March.
Rents are expected to rise across the UK, with an average annual increase of 4%.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said the rental sector was constrained by a lack of housing. Surveyors reported that taxes and regulations are causing many homeowners to consider continuing or selling.
Andrew Oulsnam, a surveyor in Birmingham, said demand for properties far exceeded supply, with many landlords deciding to sell whenever a tenant left.
“There is no end in sight for a severe shortage of rental properties,” he said.
Although the imbalance between demand and supply – especially for family homes – is pushing up the cost of renting, there were also warnings that tenants were already facing financial strain due to rising bills and prices.
“Tenant budgets are under pressure due to the rising cost of living. Landlords who choose to price sensibly are attracting the most interest,” said Alec Harragin, of Savills estate agents in London.
Emily, her partner and their grandson MJ were renting a two bedroom flat in Aylesbury. The landlord wanted to raise the rent at the end of their current tenancy, but the family couldn’t afford it. They have started looking for another place to live, but it is frustrating.
“There were times when I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take this one,'” Emily told the BBC last month. “I love it, it’s perfect, and then they’ll be like, ‘Here we go’.” It was, she says, “the most stressful time of my life – aside from having a baby”,
After months of searching, the family had to leave their home earlier this month. But they hadn’t found a new place, so they had to move back in with their families – meaning Emily and her partner are staying under different roofs.
“On our current relationship, it’s been really difficult,” she says.
The family now has only one goal: “Find a two-bed house, because it will have enough space for the three of us.”
The sales market would have been much calmer, with lack of activity proving to be the main problem, according to RICS.
The survey suggested that surveyors were most likely to report declining buyer interest, fewer homes being offered for sale and falling home prices.
Slower sales levels were expected to continue in the coming months.
“Agreements are in the works, but a theme that emerges from the anecdotal remarks is the need for vendors to recognize the change in market dynamics,” Mr. Rubinsohn said.
In the medium term, the situation was calmer with the expectation that interest rates would have peaked.
A slight increase in activity and real estate prices was predicted by surveyors in one year.
What are your rental rights?
- How much can my landlord increase the rent? It depends on your agreement, but increases must be fair, realistic and in line with local properties and there is usually a month’s notice.
- Can my landlord evict me? Landlords must follow strict rules such as giving written notice. Once the notice period is over, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings in court.
- Can an owner refuse benefits to people? No. DSS policies constitute unlawful discrimination. says Charity Shelter. Some councils have lists of private landlords who rent to tenants claiming benefits.
There’s more about your tenancy rights and where to go for help here.
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