Comment: Bidding wars for rental houses as lettings market hots up

There is enormous demand for rental houses in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There is enormous demand for rental houses in St Albans. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We know the St Albans property sales market’s hot, but who knew it was the same story for lettings?

Well, plenty of people looking for a three-bed house in the city for a start.

We gave notice on our rental house before going away for a week, and came back to a request from the agent for four hours of back-to-back viewings.

And this is no dream pad. I’ve written before of its many features, including what appears to be an original 1950s kitchen and what is unquestionably a deeply depressing bathroom.

We couldn’t believe the levels of interest; the house was empty when we viewed it a year ago and no one else seemed interested.

We’d seen it online, and kept deciding not to bother viewing as the kitchen and bathroom looked so dated. A series of outright “no”s from other landlords due to our crew of pets brought us full circle and, finding the house was still available, we reluctantly decided to take it.

Yesterday was a different story; there is a real shortage of three-bed houses for let in St Albans at the moment, and the agent had had five parties confirming they’d apply for our pad before they’d left the viewing.

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As above, this is not a property you’d fall instantly in love with - but for many renters, these are desperate days.

Apparently another rental house had been so popular over the weekend that a bidding war had ensued, with someone offering £75 pcm over the asking price to secure it.

We actually negotiated a small discount on our rent last summer, but things are obviously very different a year on. No sign of a bidding war for our place just yet, but stranger things have certainly happened.

Great news for the landlord, not so great for the many people seeking somewhere to call home in a time of chronic undersupply.