Private Rented Sector Report: January 2021

Surge in the number of prospective tenants seeking properties

Key findings:

  • In January, the number of new prospective tenants rose by more than 25 per cent to 81
  • The number of properties managed per branch decreased
  • Less than two in five agents witnessed landlords increasing rents in January

Demand from tenants

  • In January, the number of new prospective tenants rose by more than a quarter (27 per cent) to an average of 81 registered per branch from an average of 64 in December.
  • Year-on-year this is marginally lower than in January 2020 when the figure stood at 88 but is higher than January 2019 when the figure stood at 73. 
  • Regionally, Yorkshire & the Humberside had the highest number of new tenants registered per branch with an average of 138.

Rent prices

  • The number of tenants experiencing rent increases rose in January as two in five (39 per cent) agents saw landlords increasing rent compared to 30 per cent in December.
  • However, year-on-year this figure is down from 42 per cent in January 2020. [Figure 1]
  • The number of tenants negotiating a rent reduction fell from 2.2 per cent in December to 2 per cent in January. This is higher than during January 2020 when 1.3 per cent of tenants successfully negotiated a rent reduction.

Rent hikes

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

Supply of rental stock

  • The number of properties managed per letting agent branch fell from 204 in December to 196 in January.
  • However, this is a slight increase from January 2020, when there were 191 properties managed per branch.

Landlords selling BTL properties

  • The number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties remained at four per branch in January. Year-on-year this figure remains the same as January 2020.

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