Landlords are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, agents claim, after ARLA Propertymark members reported the lowest ever number of tenants experiencing rent increases last month.
Data from ARLA Propertymark shows the number of agents reporting tenants experiencing rent increases fell to 14% in May – the lowest on record.
This is compared with 41% of agents witnessing landlords increasing rent in February, before lockdown began, while almost half of agents reported landlords increasing rents in May 2019.
More tenants have been successful when asking for a rent reduction, with the proportion of agents reporting tenants negotiating rent reductions increasing to 2.5% in May – the highest since March 2019 when the success rate was 2.9%.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “Our latest figures show that landlords and agents have been taking the brunt of the pandemic.
“They are aware of the financial difficulties facing tenants and have shown empathy with many landlords not increasing rents where they otherwise might have needed to.
“As we continue to move forward, it’s important that everyone aims to keep the rent flowing in order to sustain the market and help boost the economy following several months of uncertainty.”
The trade body’s research also showed the consequences of the market pause during lockdown.
The time properties were empty between tenancies increased to five weeks in May, which is the longest time properties have remained void between tenancies since it started recording the figures.
Additionally, the number of new prospective tenants fell to 70 per branch in May, compared with 82 in February.
Agents reported that the number of properties managed per branch rose to 208 since the market reopened in May.
This is an increase from pre-lockdown when the average number of properties managed per member branch stood at 201.