Renters paid less to their landlords for the first time in October since the tenant fee ban came into force across England in June.
The number of tenants who saw their rent rise dropped by 8% to 50% compared to September, says letting agent trade body the Association of Residential Agents (ARLA).
Although the number of rent rises has fallen, the level is still 24% higher than October 2018 and 22% up on October 2017.
The data comes from ARLA’s monthly snapshot of the buy to let market across the UK.
The research also disclosed just 1.6% of tenants managed to negotiate a rent reduction – slightly up on September’s figure of 1.2% but historically low compared to 3.7% in October 2018 and 2.5% in October 2017.
Lettings agents reported managing an average 201 rental properties for each branch – an increase of 8 from 193 in September.
On average, agents have 72 potential tenants on their books who are actively looking for a home.
“This month’s figures show some temporary relief for tenants; however, while the number of landlords increasing rents has fallen, year on year the figure remains worryingly high,” said David Cox, the ARLA CEO.
“Even looking at the increase in the number of tenants negotiating rent reductions, which should be a positive thing, when comparing year-on-year it is less than half of what it stood at in 2018.
“For far too long, successive governments of all political persuasions have passed significant amounts of complex legislation for landlords making the buy-to-let market a less attractive investment, and this coupled with Brexit uncertainty and a looming general election has left the sector strained.
“Unfortunately, rents are likely to remain high and tenants will continue to feel the pinch.”
The tenant fee ban started in June 2019 and stops landlords charging upfront and ongoing fees to tenants.