Private Rented Sector Report: February 2021

Number of prospective tenants continued to rise in February

Key findings:

  • In February, the number of new prospective tenants rose for the second month in a row
  • Half of agents saw landlords increasing rent in February
  • The number of properties managed per branch decreased in February

Demand from tenants

  • The average number of new prospective tenants registered per branch continued to rise in February to 82, from January’s figure of 81.
  • Year-on-year this remains the same as February 2020 but is a huge leap from the previous February figure of 65 in 2019.
  • Regionally, The West Midlands had the highest number of new tenants registered per branch with an average of 126, with the East Midlands having the second highest of 123 new tenants.
  • Northern Ireland and The Isle of Wight both recorded the lowest number of new prospective tenants, with an average of 26 registered per branch in February.

Rent prices

  • The number of tenants experiencing rent increases jumped in February as half (49 per cent) of agents saw landlords increasing rent compared to 39 per cent in January.
  • Year-on-year this figure is also up from 40 per cent in February 2020.
  • The number of tenants successfully negotiating rent reductions remained the same at two per cent in February. Year-on-year this is the same as during February 2020 when the figure also stood at two per cent.

Rent hikes

Figure 1: Number of tenants experiencing rent rises year-on-year

Supply of rental stock

  • The number of properties managed per letting agent branch fell for the third month in a row from 196 in January to 195 in February.
  • Regionally, the North East had the highest number of properties managed per letting agent branch with a figure of 284.
  • However, rental stock was the lowest in London with an average of 94 properties managed per branch.

Landlords selling BTL properties

  • The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties remained the same for the fifth month in a row, at four per branch in February.
  • Year-on-year this figure is slightly lower than the February 2020 figure of five. 

Quote mark

Our latest figures clearly show that the rental market isn’t indicating any signs of slowing down as demand for rental properties surged last month. Letting agents are continuing to support landlords and their tenants during these ongoing difficult times, and it is imperative that tenancies are maintained to keep the rent flowing.

Now have a route out of the current lockdown, it is vital that continuity in the private rental sector is maintained to continue to help the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. To do this, the government must consider introducing a financial support package for those tenants who have built up rent arrears due to the financial impact of Covid-19.


mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
Chief Policy Advisor