London Rental Market Facing Severe Shortage

London Rental Market Facing Severe Shortage-Image via Wikipedia

New statistics from one of the leading London letting agencies show that the capital’s rental market has swung decisively in favour of landlords.

Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings, which has 10 offices across the capital, says the market is now driven by a severe shortage of properties to rent — in the three months to October the firm had 23% fewer homes available than during the same period of 2009.

The trend is fuelled further by tenants who are unwilling to move because they know they stand little chance of finding better, cheaper properties. A record 64% renewed their tenancies in the last quarter, one-third higher than in the same period of 2009.

“My advice to tenants is to put down a deposit as soon as they see somewhere they like. That may be the only way to secure a home: the market is so competitive now we’re routinely seeing rival applicants offering above the asking rent. The busiest sectors are those between 500 pounds and 700 pounds, and between 1,000 pounds and 1,500 pounds a week,” explains Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings.

Even dramatic gestures do not guarantee success. Some of the firm’s corporate tenants offer two or three years’ rent up-front; ironically this can have a negative impact on a landlord’s tax status so does not always mean a deal can be done.

Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings’ figures reinforce data from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, which shows that the number of tenants looking for property to rent is now twice as high as in 2007, and has reached an eight-year high.

London lettings, of course, have amongst the highest demand across the UK according to the ARLA survey — 73% of lettings agents in the capital say they have more tenants on their books than properties to offer, with the imbalance worsening as more and more first time buyers find they cannot obtain mortgages.

“A shortage exists in every sector. For example, there are many more sharers around now because one bedroom apartments are very scarce in central London. This makes it hard for people on lower budgets to find a home,” says Marc von Grundherr.

“My advice to a would-be tenant is simple. If you find something you like, don’t wait — grab it!”

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Tracie Lack
020 7433 6670

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