Demand for rental properties still high
It's good news for landlords, as continued demand for rented property, has led to rising rents and falling arrears, a trend which seems set to hold in the coming months.
According to a national study from LSL Property services, rents climbed consistently across the country throughout spring and summer, to average at around £730 per month, while the number of people in arrears with their rent fell in August for the first time in three months.
Although the average rent in Leicester remains lower, at between £550 and £600 a month, local agents agree that the market is upbeat, boosted by further demand from graduates and those starting new jobs.
Demand for rental properties remains high thanks to the fact that many people still cannot afford a deposit, meaning that rental homes' monthly prices will remain under upward pressure in the coming months.
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But property experts warn against landlords forcing rental prices high to follow what remains an uncertain market, since having reliable and good tenants in a property can be just as valuable as a high rent.
Adrian Wray, Director at Bradgate Lettings and ARLA (Association of Rental Letting Agents) regional representative, agreed rents in Leicestershire were beginning to creep up, rising between two and eight per cent since the start of the year.
"Rents hardly rose at all last year, but demand has grown and there are signs that the economy is improving. We are beginning to see some new buy to let landlords entering the market, which could be a glimmer of better times ahead.
"However, landlords would be well advised to stick with a reasonable rent in order to keep their tenant long term and avoid empty rate liability.
Scott Cave, Manager of Barkers' Braunstone Gate branch, said demand was continuing to grow for rented property, with rents rising by three to four per cent over the past year.
"What we are finding is a lot of salary rich but cash poor tenants, who in the past would have been first time buyers, but who are now having to rent and are pushing up demand.
"Having a reasonable salary they can afford to pay rent without worrying about getting into arrears.
"The fact that salaries are not rising, but fuel and food costs are mean that while rents are going up slightly they won't get out of hand," added Mr Cave.
"Sensible landlords realize that having a good tenant is key and they want them to stay."
David Lawrenson, private rented sector expert at Letting Focus said a good way to hang on to tenants is to stay just below the market average, thereby showing tenants the benefits they are getting from living at your property.
"Landlords want to keep good tenants rather than go through the cost and expense of getting new ones who may not be as good. Once you have someone you know, you want to hold on to them."