Good News For Property Renters, But It Might Not Last Long

produced by Anna Jay; photographed by Matilda Hill-Jenkins.
Finding a rental property can be a very stressful and intimidating process, especially if you're hunting in a high-demand area where it may seem as though landlords hold all the power.
At the same time, for most of us, renting is a simple fact of life. Just 27% of people aged 25 to 34 now own their homes, and it was reported in April that a third of millennials can expect never to own their own homes.
So it's at least a little bit encouraging to read a new industry report revealing that rental reductions are currently at an all-time high.
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In October, 3.7% of tenants negotiated rent reductions – a leap from 2.0% in September, and the highest figure since records began in January 2015.
Arla Propertymark, the UK's leading professional body for letting agents, also said that the number of tenants facing rent increases fell in October for the second month running.
David Cox, Area Propertymark's chief executive, said the latest figures "indicate that power in the rental market could be shifting towards tenants".
However, he also warned that this power shift could be short-lived, saying: "It’s more likely that this is indicative of the time of year and come the New Year, we’ll see rent prices starting to creep up again."
"There’s no real way of avoiding it unfortunately," Cox added, "with landlords facing continued regulatory change, increasing costs will be passed on to tenants. Those who don’t pass the costs on will eventually have to exit the market, which will increase competition and boost prices. It’s the ultimate 'lose, lose' situation."
Back in August, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicted that rents in the UK are set to rise by 15% in the next five years because of a shortfall in available rental properties.
RICS attributed this shortfall to the government's decision to reduce tax relief on buy-to-let properties, making them less appealing to investors. This policy is supposed to make properties more affordable for first-time buyers, but could actually cause prices to rise unless the government builds more affordable and social housing, RICS warned.
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