Thu 27 Jul 2023
Data commissioned by the BBC shows that competition among renters is so intense that there are an average of 27 requests to view each available property in Scotland.
The average number of requests to see each home has more than tripled from six in 2019, the figures from property portal Rightmove show.
The queue to view is even longer in some regions, reaching 30 in the Northwest of England.
Demand from renters has soared as rising mortgage rates are making home ownership a more distant prospect and prompting some landlords to sell up.
Following reports of lots of tenants chasing a smaller number of properties to rent, BBC News commissioned Rightmove to trawl its data and gather a picture of the growing level of competition in the private rental sector.
It found that in Britain, in May, there were typically 20 requests to view each available property in Britain from prospective tenants, up from 19 the previous year, and six in 2019, before the Covid pandemic.
In every region, the number has tripled at the least since 2019.
Anecdotal evidence shows tenants are offering more than the asking rent or arriving early to get to the front of the queue.
Paul Forbes, an estate agent in Preston, said that properties were often let after the first block viewing of interested home-hunters because demand is so high. Choosing the successful applicant was "not a nice part of the job", he said.
Previous research by the BBC recently revealed how rental applicants with children and pets have found it even harder to secure a place.
In May, the government confirmed it planned to ban no-fault evictions in England, promising a "fairer deal for renters". But a group of charities and campaigners said there has been slow progress since. They have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to speed up and strengthen reforms in the private rental sector.
The government says the reforms will help create a sector "fit for the 21st Century" and the next stage of the bill will come in due course.
The mismatch between demand from tenants and supply from landlords has contributed to sharp increases in rents. Landlords have also been hit with rising costs, from repairs to significant increases in mortgage rates.
In the majority of the UK, affordability of renting has been at its worst for a decade. Official figures show rent rising at its fastest annual rate since comparable records began in 2016.
This article appeared in the BBC.