Two million tenants across the UK could be hit with rent rises totalling £46m a month, as 40% of landlords say they will increase rents in 2018.
The finding has been scaled up after a survey of 1,000 landlords conducted for online letting agent MakeUrMove.
The average monthly rent in the UK already stands at £918, according to MakeUrMove’s own figures.
A further rise, says Alexandra Morris, managing director of the firm, will pile the pressure on tenants already struggling with stagnant wages and the rising cost of living.
She said the impending tenant fees ban, loss of mortgage interest tax reliefs and regulatory changes have all combined to create a perfect storm of financial pressures on landlords, leaving nearly half of them with no choice but to hike up tenants’ rents to cover their costs.
As a result, tenants face paying an average of £23 a month more, totalling £414 across a typical 18-month tenancy.
Tenants will feel the impact most severely in London where half of landlords say they are planning to increase rents. In the capital, tenants are already paying an average monthly rent of £1,274.
In the north-east and Scotland, tenants will also be badly affected, with 46% and 45% respectively of landlords saying they will be forced to increase rents due to new laws and regulations.
Nearly all (97%) of the landlords surveyed believed it was important to keep tenants happy, suggesting rent increases are a last resort.
Morris said: “Rents have already been increasing year on year, and it’s likely that this will be the year that sees UK tenants feel the biggest impact yet from the recent changes introduced to the private rental sector.
“From our experience, we know many tenants are already stretching their monthly budgets to afford rental properties, and additional rent increases could be the final straw, tipping them into debt or rent arrears.”
Morris is also forecasting that, as a direct result of the Government’s landlord-bashing agenda, between 400,000 and 500,000 rental properties will be put on the sales market. Only a proportion, she says, are likely to be bought by other landlords.
Morris said that around half of private landlords are casual or accidental, and own just one rental property. Attempts to professionalise these individuals are doomed to failure.
She said that the Government should instead recognise the contribution they make to the housing market “and start to support them” for the sake of tenants.