Rent claims give buy to let bad name

Outrageous claims about buy to let rents are giving a false picture of the market to landlords and tenants, according to trade body the British Property Federation (BPF).

The BPF alleges unofficial statistics collated by letting agents, landlord insurers and web sites fail to the true story of the industry and the media misinterpret their findings.

The BPF has worries about three key factors:

  • Rental reports are based on ‘advertised’ rather than ‘achieved’ rents – and the actual agreed rents may be much lower
  • Statistics do not include long-term tenants who are not moving and who will often not see their rents rise every year
  • Samples are too small or skewed to geographical locations that can influence the results

The BPF gives some examples of stories in the media based on flawed surveys.

In one, the suggestion was private rents were rising quickly, even though a 10% increase over four years was well under the official rate of inflation and was less than rising social housing rents.

Another survey claimed a 2% rent rise was excessive, even though inflation is more than 2% and matches recent average earnings growth.

BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: “Some of the figures that have been bandied around trumpeting large rent increases are very misleading and do not reflect the picture across the entire country.

“While in some hotspots rents are rising more than average, across the country as a whole about 85% of rents are rising below the consumer price index according to reliable figures.

“For a long time we’ve been calling for more reliable rental figures and I welcome the UK National Statistics consultation that has just closed, which is looking to improve its statistics on residential rents, and we support the suggested switch to more reliable data. The larger sample size should lead to improvements in the quality of data and provide a more comprehensive picture across the whole market.”

BPF members comprise the biggest companies in the property sector, like property developers and owners, institutions, fund managers, investment banks and professional organisations that support the industry.


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