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Number of prospective tenants continued to rise in February

In February, the number of new prospective tenants in the UK rose for the second consecutive month according to the latest Private Rented Sector report by ARLA Propertymark.

The data showed that the average number of new prospective tenants registered per branch continued to rise in February to 82, from January’s figure of 81. Year-on-year this remains the same as February 2020 but is a huge leap from the previous February figure of 65 in 2019.

Regionally, the West Midlands had the highest number of new tenants registered per branch with an average of 126, with the East Midlands having the second highest of 123 new tenants. Northern Ireland and The Isle of Wight both recorded the lowest number of new prospective tenants, with an average of 26 registered per branch in February.

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The number of tenants experiencing rent increases jumped in February as half (49%) of agents saw landlords increasing rent compared to 39% in January. Year-on-year this figure is also up from 40% in February 2020. The number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions remained the same at 2% in February. Year-on-year, this is the same as during February 2020.

The number of properties managed per letting agent branch fell for the third month in a row from 196 in January to 195 in February. Regionally, the North East had the highest number of properties managed per letting agent branch with a figure of 284. Rental stock was the lowest in London, with an average of 94 properties managed per branch.

The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties remained the same for the fifth month in a row, at four per branch in February. Year-on-year, this figure is slightly lower than the February 2020 figure of five.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Mark Hayward, chief Policy Advisor at Propertymark, said: “Today’s report demonstrates that the rental market continues to show no sign of slowing down, as demand for rental properties rose yet again in February.

“Letting agents have continued to support landlords and their tenants throughout the ongoing COVID-19 difficulties, and it is essential that tenancies are maintained wherever possible to ensure rent keeps flowing.”

Source: Property Wire

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Landlords optimistic about 2021 house price growth

The majority (66%) of landlords expect house prices to rise in 2021 as the world starts to return to a new normal, research from Accommodation.co.uk has found.

Three quarters (76%) are still keen to seek urban opportunities over rural ones, despite reports of people leaving cities due to the pandemic.

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Aaron Short, founder and chief executive at Accommodation.co.uk, said: “We are always listening to our landlords and tenants to ensure our proposition remains current and reflects the needs of the market and this is why the National Landlord Index remains so important.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“Understanding how landlords perceive the market and what impact COVID and Brexit are having will determine the shape of the future lettings market.

“It is great to see landlords positive about the market this year and this certainly mirrors the growth we have seen.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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More Support Needed Landlords Tell Inquiry

Rather than concentrating on measures to block tenant evictions, Government focus should be on providing better support for the private rented sector, so as to help both landlords and tenants.

This is what National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle told a Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of COVID-19 on homelessness and the private rented sector this week.

It was true that the Government had already provided unprecedented levels of support for the sector, Beadle told the inquiry. Even so, a solid commitment to prevent greater problems was needed, he said.

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While helping some tenants, changes made by the Government in response to the Coronavirus Crisis had also caused significant hardship to some landlords, in particular to those whose tenants had been in significant rent arrears prior to the crisis.

The NRLA has been campaigning for financial support to help tenants pay off arrears built up during the crisis along the lines of schemes already operating in Scotland and Wales.

The HCLG Committee inquiry was set up to consider both the immediate and long-term impact of the pandemic on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in the private rented sector. Current hearings are taking evidence from stakeholders about what is being done and what further support is needed. Besides hearing from the NRLA, the committee also heard this week from representatives of Citizens Advice and Shelter, organisations which have joined the NRLA in calling for financial help for renters forced into arrears by the Coronavirus Crisis.

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‘What we are lacking is a longer-term strategy to help the sector and I think the measures we have laid out with our colleagues from Crisis and Citizens Advice and others are a route to sustaining tenancies, which is what everyone wants’, said Beadle.

  • No eviction notices are to be served until 11 January at the earliest and, given the 14 day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25 January 2021 at the earliest. The only exceptions to this are the most serious circumstances: illegal occupation, false statement, anti-social behaviour, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing, where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant, and extreme rent arrears equivalent to nine months’ rent with any arrears accrued since 23 March discounted.

This is the advice contained in updated guidance published by the Government this week: COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. This provides advice to landlords and tenants on the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, and about their rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Source: Residential Landlord

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