December appeared to be the calm before the storm for
private tenants in the UK, as they’re in for a rough ride in 2019, according to
ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents).
The organisation’s latest Private Rented Sector Report,
covering December 2018, reveals that tenants ended last year in the driving
seat, but are set to experience a rocky ride this year.
The number of tenants experiencing rent price increases fell
for the fourth consecutive month in December, with 18% of ARLA Propertymark
member agents reporting that landlords put their rents up.
This is the lowest figure recorded since December 2017, when
the amount of tenants experiencing rent rises stood at 16%.
Since rent increases hit a peak in August 2018 (40%), the
number of tenants seeing their prices go up has fallen.
The supply of properties available to let rose to an average
of 193 per ARLA Propertymark member branch in December, from 183 in the
Annually, this level has dropped by 4%, from 200 in December
Demand for homes from prospective tenants declined in
December, with the number of home hunters registered per branch down to an
average of 50, from 55 in November.
Demand is also down year-on-year, as 59 potential tenants
were registered on average in December of the previous year.
David Cox, the Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark,
comments: “Although December’s figures indicate that tenants
finished the year in the driving seat, they’re in for a rocky ride this year.
With the Tenant Fees Bill passing its final hurdle in Parliament last week, it is now waiting to receive royal assent before being
passed into law and implemented on 1st June. This means it’s only a
matter of time until we could see rent prices starting to creep up again.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, landlords have
faced continued regulatory change and increasing costs over the last few years,
and the tenant fees ban will only add to this burden, meaning many will either
have to start increasing rents for tenants or exit the market.”