"There has been a clear trend of an increasing number of tenants wanting to stay on in what we classify as ‘prime’ rental properties. These are defined as well-located properties which are presented in truly excellent condition throughout.
"In London and Surrey, demand for these prime properties is outstripping supply and tenants are recognising that their current deal might be the best they are going to get, as rents, despite appearing to have stabilised at the half year point, have risen significantly since January. The type, style and location of a property have advantages in many cases, but it is really important to be realistic. It is often difficult to find that right level between landlord and tenant to agree on price, especially if both have differing opinions on the true value."
Despite this, Townends lettings branches have found multiple competing offers and an extremely quick turnaround are also commonplace on the most desirable stock. This high demand has led to a flurry of activity from new and returning investors stepping into the market as a result of greater buy-to-let mortgage product availability.
A lack of means or desire to buy has led to some agents looking to compensate for the sales market by diversifying into the rental market, meaning landlords also have greater choice of letting and management agencies.
"Some of these ‘accidental agents’ have little or no experience of this market but have attracted landlords with ‘too good to be true’ agent fees, only to later close down and in some cases defraud their clients.
"Landlords are in the driving seat and do have the opportunity to shop around for the best agent or management company and the best tenants. However, with a thriving yet unregulated market come an increased number of people looking to cash in on it, so landlords should remember service levels and price usually come hand in hand.
"Remember that buy-to-let is not as easy as reports would have us believe, so know your local market and look for an ARLA regulated agent (which includes the necessity to have Client Money Protection).
"Overall the lettings market remains in robust health and I fully expect demand to remain high for the remainder of the year."
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