A recent survey has suggested that, in December, the price of renting a home – rather than buying a house with a mortgage – in England and Wales had fallen for the second month in a row.
According to this study – carried out by LSL Property Services – the average rent fell by 0.8 per cent in the December compared to November, to £711 a month.
Rent has been recorded as falling in all regions across England and Wales – except for Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the East Midlands – with varying levels of decrease depending on the area in question.
The monthly falls seen in November and December are the first falls in 10 months, with rises occurring in each month prior to this.
The LSL has also stated that the seasonal decrease that has been seen is shallower than the previous year.
“The rental market was sheltered from the full impact of the seasonal lull by the strength of underlying tenant demand as many prospective renters took the opportunity to move in the run-up to Christmas at a time when the market is traditionally less competitive,” commented Mr David Newnes director of LSL.
However, when comparing this to the previous December, it would appear that the cost of renting is 4% more expensive than it was back in 2010.
LSL also added that their research had showed that, due to spending over the festive period, more tenants were getting behind on their rental payments.
They found that 10.7 per cent of all rent had either been late or unpaid at the end of December, compared to only 9.3 per cent the previous month.
But these difficulties haven’t just faced tenants, but also some landlords, according to The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
Tim Hyatt, president of ARLA said: “It is more critical than ever to take references and conduct thorough research before signing a tenancy agreement,
“Seeking advice from a professional, licensed letting agent is the best way to ensure tenants and landlords’ rights are protected.”
Annually, rent has seen a rise in all but two regions – the South-West and North-East of England – in December.
Director of flat and house-share website Spareroom.co.uk, Matt Hutchinson, offered his comment on the current rental situation: “It may be premature to say the UK rental market has peaked and that we are about to see rents fall away. What we are probably seeing is a temporary blip, a natural cooling-off period for the rental market.
“The fact is the fundamentals have not changed. Demand is still significantly outstripping supply of new rental stock, and while December was a quieter month for the rental market, January and February are typically two of the busiest months.
“We would expect to see upward pressure on rents resume in early 2012.”
With renting looking to become more affordable over the course of the year, it is important for potential landlords to get the right buy-to-let mortgage to suit the property they wish to rent out.