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Spike in landlords selling up ahead of tenant fee ban: Arla

The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties in April reached its highest level since May 2018, according to Arla Propertymark.

The figure rose from an average of four landlords leaving the market per lettings agency branch in March to five last month.

Meanwhile the proportion of agents who reported that landlords had increased rents rose to 33 per cent last month, up from 30 per cent in March.

The number of tenants negotiating rent reductions fell in April, from 2.9 per cent in March, to 1.9 per cent last month – the lowest figure seen since May 2016.

Yet tenants had a greater number of rental properties to choose from in April than a year ago, at 202 instead of 179 per lettings branch.

Demand from prospective tenants fell in April with the number registered to look for properties declining from 67 in March to 64 last month.

Arla Propertymark chief executive David Cox says: “As predicted, April’s findings have shown an upsurge in the number of landlords selling their BTL properties.

“In just a few days’ time, on 1 June, the Tenant Fees Act will come into force in England.

“This, coupled with the proposed scrapping of Section 21, is forcing landlords to either increase rents or leave the market altogether.

“As supply of rental accommodation falls further, tenants will only be faced with more competition for properties, pushing up rent prices on good-quality, well-managed properties and decreasing tenants’ ability to negotiate rent reductions.

“In order to remain profitable, landlords will increase rents to cover the additional fees they are now faced with and as a result, tenants will continue to feel the burn.”

However, other groups such as Generation Rent, which campaigned for the ban, believe the changes will improve the market for tenants.

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