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Still tenants’ market but letting more balanced

"The number of properties available is decreasing over the numbers at the end of last year and the beginning of 2009, and tenant demand is rising.

"House sales are becoming more visible now and we would anticipate many of the so-called ‘reluctant landlords’ to take their properties off the rental market with a view to selling in the next few months. This will lead to supply and demand becoming more balanced.

"There is also currently a shortage of new entrants to the Buy to Let market which will mean renters may have less choice in the coming months."

Leaders reported that on existing tenancies rents were staying steady as many tenants preferred to remain where they were rather than incur the costs of moving in the current economic climate.

On new tenancies rents fell slightly but, as Weller pointed out, this should be considered in context.

"Rents have gone steadily up over recent years so what we are seeing now is a modest price adjustment," he said.

"Also, whilst many prospective tenants are negotiating on rents, we are finding that in many areas rents on well presented one and two-bedroom flats and small houses in good areas are remaining firm as this is where most demand is."

Leaders said it expected to see less negotiation on rents from tenants as supply and demand evened out as the sales market picked up.

According to Leaders, the presentation of a property is crucial when it comes to attracting tenants and obtaining a good rent in the current market.

Weller said: "Most tenants are looking to rent for some considerable time and want a home not a stop gap. Poorly presented properties just won’t let at any price unless the landlord compromises on the quality of applicant which in the current market is not recommended and could be a false economy.

"In addition, those landlords who are flexible on things like accepting pets, updating their properties, furnishings, allowing tenants to decorate, and providing kitchen appliances will find it easier to secure a tenancy."

Leaders also advise that realistic pricing is key to letting in this market as over-priced properties can remain empty for many weeks.

"Unfortunately, some agents over-value properties to get an instruction which is particularly bad for landlords in the current market as this approach ends up costing them more in loss of rent than if the rent was set at a lower, more realistic level from the start," Weller said.

For tenants, Leaders’ advice is to act quickly if they want to take advantage of the current market conditions. With the apparent movement in the sales market, supply and demand are likely to become more balanced, and they may not have as much choice or bargaining power in the coming months.

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