Have Shelter's calls for tenant fees to be dropped increased rents in Scotland?

publication date: May 29, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Regional Rental Report, Scoland, England and Wales

As with national property prices versus regional ones, rental trends vary for each area, even to postcode level, but not as much as property prices. For example, you might have 10 different prices for a two bed flats vs 4 for rents. In the regional indices chart, we include average monthly rents from LSL, Homelet and Belvoir for April 14 vs April 13, compared to the Move with Us average monthly rent for Q1 14 vs Q1 13.

May 2014

It’s unlikely that any indices can be directly compared, but what we can do is check whether they are all giving the same trending information – ie going up or down, so we can get a feel for what’s actually happening in the market from a variety of sources.

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The breakdown for
Scotland and Wales regions show:-

  • In Wales, all the indices suggest static to slight increases in rents year on year, with Move with Us and LSL showing static rents at 0.5%, and rises from Belvoir of 1.8% and Homelet of 3.3%.
  • The Scottish data from the indices indicate upward movement in rents, with year on year rises from Move with Us of 3.2%, and Homelet of 4.2%. The Belvoir figures also suggest a rise year on year, however, this is an anomaly in the figures due to a change in the mix of advertised properties.

Have Scottish Rents increased due to a lack of tenant fees?

This upward movement in rents in Scotland (bar Belvoir) does suggest that tenant fees being scrapped has, so far lead to an increase in property rents. According to the indices, rents have increased by £22 per month from Move with Us and £25 per month via Homelet. That’s an increase of £264 to £300 per year.

Checking with other Scottish rental indices such as Citylets, “Quarter 1 of 2014 has….the average mix adjusted rent in Scotland now at £699 which is 3.6% greater than last year.”

This is an increase of £24 per month, £288 per year.

Although the lack of tenant fees may not have resulted in increased rents outside of Scottish cities, it does look like other indices are showing an average increase of £22-25 per month, or £264 to £300 per year. And it’s certainly true that the rises in Scotland appear to be higher than those elsewhere in the country so all in all, a loss of tenant fees do appear, so far, to result in higher rents for tenants.

As to by how much, it appears this would cover average tenant fees for the first 12 months, but after that, the tenant will be overpaying. As, on average, tenants are renting for around 20 months (according to ARLA) that suggests tenants would end up paying almost double.  

Download my full rental market update here

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