The rental market across the UK has been booming in the last few years, with a raft of buy-to-let investors getting themselves a piece of the pie and capitalising on the consistently high levels of demand that have epitomised the sector.
However, while this saw prices hit all-time highs again and again throughout the majority of 2011 and 2012, a new discovery from a report released by charity Shelter has shown that many landlord insurance customers are now taking the opportunity to freeze or reduce the charges levied on their tenants.
Thanks to the Funding for Lending Scheme being introduced last July, more people across the UK are now finding it easier to get a mortgage and subsequently buy a house. This means a drop in the number looking to the private-rented sector, and a slowing demand.
Owners of buy-to-let homes are savvy to this, though, and many landlords are turning towards dropping or freezing charges in order to attract new customers as well as holding onto residents that they already have living in their properties.
Shelter said that some 74 per cent of owners have either lowered prices or kept them steady in the last year to make sure that they are able to compete well in the market.
However, it also added that for those 26 per cent of tenants who have seen their charges rise in the past 12 months, many are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
The cost of living has risen by 25 per cent over the past five years in general, and this has meant many facing a battle to keep a roof over their heads. A quarter have even turned to their credit card in order to pay their rent rather than falling behind and into arrears.
Landlords can help their tenants out though, and many will appreciate having someone who is understanding and approachable. Make yourself available to discuss any issues with rental shortfalls, as it can help to alleviate problems by working out payment plans, for example.