Average cost of renting falls by more than 2%Rent driven down as more owners let out their home

17 March 2009

Handing back house keys

Handing back the keys because of repossession worries may not mean the end of your debts 

The cost of renting a property has fallen during the first three months of 2009 as ‘accidental landlords’ flood the market, research showed today.

Property website Gumtree.com said that average rents had dropped by 2.2% across the UK, with rents in Oxford - the worst affected area – plunging by 6%.

If you’re looking to rent out a property to prospective tenants, the Which? buy to let guide may help you.

Flood of rental properties

Gumtree said that rents were down by 3.6% in London, 2.9% in Manchester and Belfast, and 2.7% in Brighton.

It blamed the falls on the rental market being flooded with properties, as people opted to rent out their home hoping that house prices would recover.

Gumtree has seen a 19% rise in the number of people advertising properties to rent on its website during the past three months. See the Which? guide to searching for rental property online if you’re looking for somewhere to rent now.

Landlords can’t sell home

A Gumtree survey found 23% of landlords said they were only renting out their home because they had not been able to sell it for what they thought it was worth.

But many are unaware of their legal obligations, with 46% failing to get a gas safety certificate and only 47% installing a smoke alarm.

Half of landlords didn’t draw up a legal contract with their tenants, only 46% requested references, and just 42% took out home insurance. 

If you’re a tenant looking to rent a property, use our guides to viewing a rental property and checking a letting agreement to help you protect yourself from dodgy landlords.

Which? news RSS feeds

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the . If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.

© Press Association 2009