London estate agent Marsh & Parsons claims the situation is worse for tenants in particularly sought after areas of South London, including Clapham, Barnes, and Battersea. The ratio has risen from 2.5 potential tenants to over 12 in the last 18 months.
As a result, the estate agent says prices for lets have soared and landlords have started giving statutory notice to tenants in order to re-let the property and charge higher rents.
12 months ago a two bed flat in South Kensington’s Onslow Gardens went for £610 per week and has just been re-let for £700.
Likewise, where landlords choose to avoid vacancy periods, Marsh & Parsons’ renewals department is re-agreeing lets around 3% higher than the existing agreement.
Patrick Littlemore, director of south west lettings at Marsh & Parsons, said: “This is the peak of the year for activity with the start of the school year and the university year about to begin. The milk round, when employers seek graduates, is over and there is an influx of young foreign graduates coming into London which is helping to drive demand.
“Anyone who signed a tenancy agreement twelve months ago might have got a good deal at the time – but they may face having notice served on them by landlords who are keen to earn a higher rent.
“This is not a simple seasonal change. This time last year, there were only 3.5 times as many applicants than the number of available properties. Last year the supply was better than it is now and I expect this situation to last right up to Christmas. And the fierce competition for lettings property means the good times have returned for landlords – rents are the highest they’ve been for nearly two years.”