Belfast Telegraph

Rental tenants in London and Wales see bargaining power improve

Rental sector tenants' bargaining power has improved in both London and Wales over the last year, an index suggests.

Just 8% of homes in central London were let at above the asking price in August, compared with 17% a year ago, according to lettings network Countrywide. This is the lowest proportion seen in August since 2011.

In Greater London, 13% of homes were let at above the asking price in August, down from 17% in August 2015.

Across the rest of England, the proportion of homes being rented for above the asking price either increased or stayed broadly the same compared with a year earlier.

In Wales, 8% of properties were let at above the asking price in August, falling from 11% a year earlier.

Countrywide said the supply of rental homes has been growing, particularly in the South of England.

A stamp duty increase for buy-to-let investors was imposed on April 1, and before then there were signs of investors rushing to snap up properties ahead of the deadline. This may have boosted the supply of rental properties in some areas.

The average monthly rent across the country for new lets now stands at £960, after increasing by 1.5% year-on-year, according to Countrywide.

Across England and Wales generally, the proportion of homes being let above the asking price has seen a small 0.2 percentage point increase over the last year, with around 12% of homes being rented for above the asking price.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: "In London and the South East recent increases in the number of homes available to rent, outpacing the growth in tenants looking for a home, has meant that bargaining power is shifting towards tenants from landlords. This is slowing rental growth.

"Overall, slightly more tenants are offering above asking price than last year. The majority continue to pay asking prices. Unlike the sales market, rental prices adapt very quickly to changes in market conditions, meaning asking prices are finely tuned to tenant demand."