THE number of tenants looking for new homes in the UK’s private rented sector fell in May, but those seeing rents rise increased.

The data from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) also shows that the the number of rental properties managed by letting agents in the UK’s private rented sector increased by four per cent in May, the highest figure recorded this year.

It means that there are currently 186 homes managed by ARLA members, up from the 179 recorded in April 2018.

The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes increased to 28 per cent in May, up from 26 per cent the previous months and the highest level since August 2017, when 35 per cent of landlords put rents up for tenants.

The number of prospective tenants registered per member branch dropped significantly in May, with 60 per branch, compared to 72 in April, a 16 per cent drop and the lowest demand seen since December 2017.

“There’s a chronic supply shortage in the rental market at the moment, and while it’s positive that the number of properties available to rent seems to be rising but it isn’t nearly enough to fix the market for tenants,” said David Cox, ARLA chief executive.

“Competition is getting more and more fierce, and with legislative changes hitting landlords from all sides, the cost of renting is only increasing.

“The only thing which will truly create a better, fairer market, is a dramatic increase in supply.”