Article written and provided by Jo Eccles, Managing Director at SP Property Services, for Beacon Gainer, private wealth advisory services group.

The number of properties available for rent has significantly increased since lockdown and one leading estate agent reported 42% more compared to this time last year.

We attribute this to a number of factors.

Firstly, short let landlords are now entering the long let space. This has largely been driven by the collapse of international travel and little or no demand for short lets. It is estimated that 37% of homes in London which had been advertised as a short let are now being offered for long-term occupation.

Another reason – which we saw during the 2007 financial crisis and is now repeating itself – is sellers’ reluctance to sell their homes in a softer market. Many discretionary sellers who can afford to ride out the market are choosing to put their property on the rental market, instead of the sales market.

It should be noted that these ‘accidental landlords’ are usually still open to sales offers, which is why with our buying clients we always search across the rental market too to ensure all potential options have been considered.

There is also less uptake from tenants. Lower inbound relocation assignments have reduced tenant demand, plus the fact that many existing tenants have not yet returned to London and are not renewing their tenancies as a result.

If you are looking to rent, or you are already renting and assessing whether to renew your existing tenancy or move, there are some great opportunities and our Property Search team have been helping tenants secure superb properties on very competitive terms.

If you are a landlord, it is essential that you navigate the market correctly. Best in class is key when tenants have so much choice, and our Property Management team are busy advising our landlords how to best present their properties to beat the competition. In many cases there are small, practical and relatively inexpensive improvements which can significantly increase the appeal of a rental home.

Correct marketing strategy and pricing is also crucial and we have achieved significant success for our landlords by advising them to ‘price to rent’ which has resulted in multiple bids on many occasions to achieve asking price with minimal or no void period.

If you are a tenant and would like to discuss renting a property, or you are a landlord and would like to discuss your rental investment(s), we would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.