Competition among renters is so intense that there are 20 requests to view each available property, according to data commissioned by the BBC.
The average number of requests to see each home has more than tripled from six in 2019, the figures from Rightmove show. The queue to view is even longer in some regions, reaching 30 in the North West of England.
Demi and Andrew, who are both self-employed and have five children, told the BBC they faced “ridiculous prices”, a lack of options, and a wall of silence from some agents before finding somewhere suitable near Preston.
Demand from prospective renters has soared as rising mortgage rates are making home ownership a more distant prospect and prompting some landlords to sell up. The BBC 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.
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.
Recently, HUNGER spoke to a number of prospective renters in the UK, who discussed the impact that rising rents, bidding wars, and lack of government support has been affecting them and their search for housing.