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Rental demand rises as RICS keeps up pressure over regulation

Demand for rental property rose at its fastest rate since the start of the year, says the latest RICS residential lettings survey.

It comes as the RICS, along with Shelter and Which?,  raise renewed concerns over a lack of agent regulation.

Almost 90% of tenants who responded to a separate RICS survey called for compulsory regulation for lettings agents in order to protect consumers, and the RICS said the private rental sector was akin to the lawless Wild West.

Today’s survey shows that interest from would-be renters jumped to its strongest since January and suggests that the booming rental market is showing no signs of slowing down.

In tandem with rising demand, an increasing number of landlords placed their properties on the market during the last quarter, while the cost of renting a home continued to rise. Rents have now consistently been on the rise since the beginning of 2010, the RICS said.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: “Importantly, as a growing number of people are now entering the rental market, it is extremely worrying that no compulsory regulation is in place to protect them.

“At present, practically anybody can set up as a lettings agent and this means that tenants can potentially be at risk of poor service and even malpractice.

“We’d recommend that anybody looking to rent a home uses a regulated member of a professional body in order to protect themselves.”

But the main professional bodies, RICS and ARLA, clashed this week. See next story.