People who are unable to sell their properties because of the collapse of the residential sales market are now flooding the lettings sector with unusual, high-specification homes that are often being offered to tenants at bargain prices.

The number of properties available for rent on the website, which covers three-quarters of the letting-agent market, has increased by 60% over the last year from 171,000 to nearly 284,000. Many agents fear that this sudden surge in so-called 'reluctant landlords' putting their properties up for letting risks destabilising the entire rental market.

The ARLA has already reported a fall in rents in 'prime' central London by 8.1% over the last quarter and 2.5% across the country as a whole.

The Observer