TENANTS are facing increasing competition as supply in the private rented sector tightens, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

The organisation’s latest quarterly research found that 59 per cent of respondents reported more would-be tenants than properties available.

Tenants are also less likely to haggle for properties, suggesting that the lack of supply is restricting the potential for negotiation.

The number of respondents who have seen an increase in tenants haggling with landlords over rents in the last six months has fallen from 44 per cent to 33 per cent.

One factor in the shrinking pool of properties available is the declining numbers of “reluctant landlords” – those who had to rent out their property because it could not be sold.

Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA, said: “Supply in the rental sector is suffering from the buoyant housing market, and there is a concern that some tenants may now face increased competition for the properties they want.

“While the departure of reluctant landlords is positive for those who are now able to sell, there is a risk of a supply gap opening up in the private rental sector. Investing in new schemes such as build-to-rent could be one way to alleviate a lack of available rental properties if this trend continues.”

Julie Kinsella, letting manager, at CB Slade estate agents agreed with the ARLA research. “We have found that there is definitely a healthy stream of good tenants ready to take properties as soon as they come onto the market,” she said.

“I recently had a flat on Victoria Road in Cirencester that had five viewings in an hour and had a stream of people desperate to take it

“Furthermore landlords who are actively purchasing property for buy-to-let purposes are seeking more advice on where to invest.

“I’ve had a landlord recently who opted to wait for a property in one particular area to become available. She’s since snapped up the purchase, on a fantastic corner plot, and it has already been rented within weeks of the completion date. It must remain key, however, that despite tenant demand being high, property standards must not be dropped.”