In March the average rent in England and Wales fell by 0.3% to £705 per month, a decline from £707 in February.
Around 8.7% of all rent was late or unpaid at the end of March, down from 9.3% in February. Unpaid rent totalled £267m, a 6% reduction from the £285m in February.
Despite the monthly drop rents continue to rise on an annual basis with rents 2.7% higher than a year ago.
David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “The recent dip in rents will be welcome news for tenants, with the cost of renting at its most affordable level since July. T
“The rental market was still feeling the knock-on effect from the stamp duty deadline in March, with an increased number of tenants rushing to leave the sector in the first part of the year, easing tenant competition.
“On top of this, a growing number of investors have been entering the market, or expanding their portfolios, to take advantage of strong yields and improving annual returns.”
Brown added that the drop-off in rents was likely to be short-lived with the passing of the stamp duty holiday deadline increasing the cost of moving and banks’ funding conditions likely to limit high value mortgage lending to first-time buyers.
He said: “Would-be buyers will be more reliant than ever on rented accommodation. As we head into a traditionally busier period for the market, a redoubling of tenant demand is likely to push rents higher once more, despite the improved supply.”