Buy to let rents have hit a record high – averaging £970 a month and up 2.4% on a year ago.

Rents are even higher in London, where tenants are paying £1,689 a month, which is 3.5% more than 12 months ago.

Tenants in the north-east pay the cheapest monthly rent of £531.

The average in England after stripping out London’s figures is £802, up 2% from the end of August last year, says market monitor Homelet’s latest report.

Tenants in Wales are paying £636 a month, while those in Scotland hand their landlords £671 and rents in Northern Ireland average £664. Northern Ireland also saw the lowest annual increase of just 0.2%.

Homelet chief executive Martin Totty said: “In times of uncertainty people tend to defer major purchases – opting to wait for the turbulent times to pass – and there is nothing more major than buying property.

“In the case of Brexit – deal or no-deal – it’s still unclear how long the uncertainty will continue, which could spell positive news for private landlords as more people choose to rent rather than risk entering the property market at the wrong point in the cycle.

“Recently released annual results from a number of major quoted property agents point to a resilient private rented sector in contrast to a subdued sales market.

“This is perhaps no surprise, at least not to most informed participants in the sector. Indeed, many had predicted this as the inevitable consequence of banning letting agents and landlords from charging up-front fees to tenants. Faced with higher expenses, higher taxation and greater regulation, savvy property owners were always likely to seek to recover these increased charges.”

The monthly survey reported monthly rents for new tenancies averaging £959 in July, an annual rise of 2.3%.