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Rental market rumble – London tenant applications double

Tenant demand appears to have returned to the capital’s rental market as the pandemic freeze continues to thaw.

Analysis from London estate agency Bective shows that in the six months between October 2020 and March 2021, the number of new applicants rose by 34% when compared to the previous six months (April 2020 to September 2020).

However, in the last six months alone, the level of tenant applications for London rental properties has more than doubled, up by 104% versus the previous six months (October 2020 to March 2021) and 173% when compared to the peak of the pandemic last year (April 2020 to September 2020).


Bective’s research shows that this tenant interest is also becoming apparent beyond the lettings application stage.

The proportion of London rental properties listed on the market that has seen a let agreed now sits at 39% in the last six months, up from 36% between October 2020 and March 2021 and 33% between April 2020 to September 2020.

What’s more, the number of rental properties as a proportion of all stock listed online (sales and rentals) has also started to drop following a surplus of properties clogging the market due to evaporating demand.

Bective’s research shows that just 34% of all properties listed are now rental properties, down from 42% on the previous six months and 42% in the six months prior to that.

Thomas Dainty, Bective’s head of lettings and property management, comments: “It’s fair to say that the green shoots of rental market positivity that had started to spring at the back end of last year have now blossomed quite considerably and we’re now seeing the London rental market start to build a real head of steam.”

“Not only are we seeing a strong uplift in the number of those enquiring, but these enquiries are also converting which is something we simply weren’t seeing during peak periods of pandemic uncertainty.”

Dainty says this renewed intent is helping to clear the backlog of rental market stock that had otherwise sat dormant for much of last year.

“The result of which has been a boost to rental values and we anticipate rents to recover to pre-pandemic levels as a result of this continued demand and positive sentiment,” he adds.

“We’ve already started to see rental values climb considerably for homes providing more space and the most suitable units have been subject to multiple bids, with the rent achieved up by some 10% on last year already.”

Table shows the six-month change in new lettings applications and total levels of tenant demand and rental stock levels

Time period

Change in new lettings applications %

Tenant demand

Rental stock

Apr 2020 to Sep 2020




Oct 2020 to Mar 2021




Apr 2021 to Sep 2021





Bective applications via Rightmove, Zoopla, On the Market and their own website

Rightmove (based on the number of rental properties Let Agreed, as a percentage of all rental properties listed)

Rental properties as a percentage of all stock listed (sales and rentals)


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