Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 11:30 UK

Tenants' bargaining power 'eases'

Letting boards
Homeowners are getting more options than letting

Tenants' bargaining power has weakened as fewer properties are coming onto the rental market, say surveyors.

The falling cost of renting slowed in the three months to July, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Homeowners who need to move are seizing the opportunity to sell in a more stable market, rather than letting properties as reluctant landlords.

This means tenants have less opportunity to haggle on price.

However, Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said that tenants were still in a "relatively strong" position compared with two years ago.


Fewer surveyors reported falls rather than increases in rent in the latest Rics survey, compared with the same poll three months earlier.

While they believe that rents are likely to continue to fall in the next three months, this would be at a slower rate than previously.

This offered more options for homeowners, according to Chris Norris, of the National Landlords Association.

"People who may not have been totally prepared for all the responsibilities of letting properties now have options to sell and do not feel pressurised into the private rented sector," he said.

When house prices were falling sharply, a trend emerged of "reluctant landlords" - homeowners who were forced to let rather than sell.

Over the past 18 months the choice for tenants had expanded as homeowners who had to move, or who did not want to sell at a loss, rented their home out rather than selling it.

Now, according to Mr Norris, tenants are haggling over quality - rather than holding the upper hand in trying to push down asking rents.

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