The number of prospective tenants registered per member branch rose by 8% in March, ARLA Propertymark’s March Private Rented Sector report found.
In February, agents had 61 on their books on average, compared to 66 in March. This comes after an increase in January which saw the number of tenants registered per branch jump to 70.2.
The number of rental properties letting agents managed increased marginally in March, from 175 in February, to 179 per branch, down year-on-year – in March 2017 agents managed 183 on average.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said: “This month’s results very much show a ‘business as usual’ period for the private rented sector, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“Supply is still too low and almost a quarter of tenants are experiencing rent hikes every month as landlords try to recoup the costs lost trying to keep on top of all the recent legislative changes – including the recent energy efficiency deadline.
“For the last two decades, successive governments have passed significant amounts of complex legislation for landlords, none of which have been properly policed or adequately enforced – but most of which cost decent landlords a lot of money.
“This is why we’re so supportive of the government’s proposals to crack down on rogue agents, and more recently, plans to confiscate properties from criminal landlords.
“The announcements mark a sensible shift towards focusing on the root cause of the issues affecting the sector, rather than trying to find solutions to individual problems. This, coupled with greater rental stock is the key to fixing Britain’s broken rental sector.”
The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes increased to 23% in March, the highest level seen since September 2017 when 27% of landlords put rent costs up for tenants.
This figure is down year-on-year though; in March 2017, 25% of tenants had their rents increased and 32% were subject to rent rises in March 2016 and 2015.