United Kingdom

Government office asks agents for rental data

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Letting agents: could your rental data help the government to make evidence-based housing policy?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is part of His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, is asking letting agents to share their rental statistics. As well as the amount of rent paid, they are asking submissions of tenancy start dates, full property addresses, type of property and the number of bedrooms and living rooms they have.

The VOA collects property valuation data to help the government set tax rates and benefits, including Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit. The data is also used to put together official rental market statistics and forms part of the Office for National Statistics’s inflation calculations.

Accurate rental market data is extremely important for setting housing policy. Headline-grabbing rental growth statistics have further damaged the reputation of the private rented sector and been used by local and national politicians to argue for rent controls.

But, as PayProp demonstrated in a submission to the Scottish government’s consultation on the rent freeze, these figures tend to include only new tenancies or advertised rents. This skews the results upwards: new tenancies have historically been the biggest contributor to overall increases, while advertised rents don’t necessarily reflect what tenants are actually paying.

To submit your rental data, visit their website or contact helpdesk.lha@voa.gsi.gov.uk if you would like to submit large amounts of data digitally. All data, as well as details of the agency that submitted it, will remain confidential.

Other housing market data

UK house prices predicted to drop by at least 10% in 2023 – Property Industry Eye

New average mortgage rates fall below 6% – BBC

Lettings market continues to fly, says latest RICS survey – Letting Agent Today

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