Letting agents have reported a spike in landlords selling up.
The exodus was ahead of the tenant fees ban, to be implemented tomorrow, and which is expected to result in higher costs for landlords and the abolition of Section 21.
ARLA Propertymark’s April report found that letting agents saw the highest number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties since May last year.
The number of landlords exiting the market rose to five per branch, up from four in March.
There were also signs of rents rising ahead of the fee ban, with 33% of agents reporting a rise, up from 30% in March.
The number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions fell from 2.9% in March to 1.9% in April – the lowest figure seen since May 2016 when it stood at the same.
Rental supply was marginally down from 203 properties per branch to 202, but this is still up 13% annually.
Demand from prospective tenants also decreased over the month, with the number of house hunters registered per branch falling to 64 on average, compared with 67 in March.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said: “As predicted, April’s findings have shown an upsurge in the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties.
“Tomorrow, the Tenant Fees Act will come into force in England.
“This, coupled with the proposed scrapping of Section 21, is forcing landlords to either increase rents or leave the market altogether.
“As supply of rental accommodation falls further, tenants will only be faced with more competition for properties, pushing up rent prices on good-quality, well-managed properties and decreasing tenants’ ability to negotiate rent reductions.
“In order to remain profitable, landlords will increase rents to cover the additional fees they are now faced with and as a result, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”