Tenants are paying just £5 a month more in rent than a year ago, according to official data.
Although the letting agent trade body ARLA reported rents were increased for one in four tenants in January, the data suggest the increases were less than the rate of inflation.
The latest private rents bulletin from the Office for National Statistics says UK rents were up 1.1 per cent year on year to the end of February – a 0.1 per cent increase on January.
Meanwhile, separate ONS data showed the cost of living was up 1.8 per cent in the year to January, down from 2.8 per cent in December.
The rise in rents was not universal, as although landlords in England and Wales saw the full 1.1 per cent rise, rents in Scotland only nudged up by 0.7 per cent.
Excluding London, rents increased by 1.5 per cent in the year to February, unchanged from January.
In London tenants paid an extra 0.2 per cent in the same period; up from 0.1 per cent in January 2019.
In England, private rents were unchanged from December. When London is excluded from the data, private rents increased by 1.6 per cent in the year to February 2019.
“Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK has generally slowed since the beginning of 2016, driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period,” said the ONS.
“All UK countries have experienced rent rises since 2015. Since January 2015, rents in England have increased more than those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Focusing on the long-term trend, between January 2015 and February 2019, private rental prices across the UK increased by 7.2 per cent.”
Regionally, landlords in the East Midlands saw the highest annual rent increase – up 2.4 per cent.
The lowest annual growth was the 0.2 per cent increase in London, which was up from 0.1 per cent in January, followed by the North East, where they increased by 0.3 per cent, down from 0.4 per cent in January.