Are you looking to rent a home right now? If so, you’ve probably noticed how quickly rental properties are being snapped up, especially those with outdoor space.

With lockdown restrictions continuing to lift over the past few months and more people looking to move, we’ve seen homes being let out quicker than ever before.

In fact, the number of prospective tenants contacting agents about properties for rent is currently 10% higher than in July 2020 across Great Britain.

This has pushed up the average asking rent across the UK, excluding London, to over £1,000 per calendar month for the first time. However, the capital is starting to see an improvement as we start to see people return to cities.

Our property expert Tim Bannister says that tenants across Britain are being faced with fewer available properties and record rents in many areas.

“This is likely fuelled by some tenants signing longer leases last year and also perhaps by a rush of people who chose to move back in with family last year, who are now making plans to rent again and in many cases starting to think about their new daily commute,” he says.

“We’re also starting to see signs of London rents creeping up again, but they’re still lower than two years ago so it will take time.”

If you’re starting to look for a rental home right now, our advice is to be as prepared as possible. From getting your documents ready for reference checks, to planning the questions you want to ask when you view a property, here are our top tips on how to find the perfect home to rent.

Rental hotspots: ten areas with the biggest rent rises

Areas that have seen the biggest rent rises over the past year include city suburbs, commuter towns and coastal locations.

Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Folkestone, in Kent, have seen asking rents jump by more than 25%, while Farnham, Altrincham and Sevenoaks have seen hikes of almost 20% in a year.

Rob Cuffe, Director at Philip James in Manchester, said: “We’ve seen demand for properties in the city centre surge in the last month and shortage of stock is now our biggest problem. In fact, we currently only have 38 properties available to rent out of our 2,500 managed properties. City centre rents are continuing to increase compared to this time last year and the South Manchester rental market is booming with rents up 7%.

“Since lockdown we’re continuing to see an increase in demand for properties with outdoor spaces such as balconies or terraces. Currently two-bed city centre apartments are achieving rents in excess of £1,200 in the popular developments, and any with outside space are the most sought after. We’re letting all of our properties in an average of just 10 days,” he says.

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The header image of Folkestone used for this article is provided courtesy of Craige McGonigle on Unsplash

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