Enfield rental market ‘chaotic’ as prices soar

Local estate agents say they are “inundated” with enquiries for rental properties as demand far outstrips supply, reports James Cracknell

Estate agent letting signs

Enfield’s private rental market has been described as “chaotic” as a chronic lack of supply coupled with soaring demand has led to the fastest price rises for decades.

Renters are now struggling to even book viewings for available properties, with local estate agents telling the Dispatch they get “inundated” with calls as soon as they promote a listing.

With many landlords now deciding to sell up or take their homes out of the rental market – in many cases because rising mortgage costs have made letting “unviable” – renters have been left scrambling for the few properties that remain.

The problem is particularly acute in Enfield, where a lack of social housing compared to other London boroughs means there has long been an over-reliance on cheap rental homes to make up the gap. Enfield Council is now spending £500,000 per month on housing homeless residents – unable to afford rental properties – in commercial hotels.

Rachel Circus, director of the Enfield branch of Belvoir estate agents, told the Dispatch: “It is a bit chaotic. We put something on [the market] and we get inundated with calls. We’ll take it off within 24 or 48 hours, arrange half-a-dozen viewings, and most of them will put an offer in.

“You see some people wondering if it’s even worth looking at a house, because they know someone will beat them to it.”

Rachel said that Belvoir had let out a two-bed property in the EN3 area late last year for £1,250 per month, but had just let it again for £1,400. She added: “I [now] expect to let a property within a few days. Before it would take around three weeks.”

Rachel also said she knew someone who had “sofa surfed” for three months because they’d been unable to find anywhere to live.

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Andrew Ryde, co-founder of Chamberlains Estates in Windmill Hill, painted a similar picture. He told the Dispatch: “We are getting about 30 enquiries per property […] I would say demand is double what it was a year ago.”

Andrew said renters who stretch themselves financially to bid for a property often won’t even be considered by landlords. “There will be some places we let in just two days,” he said. “Landlords are able to pick from the bunch.”

The rate of price rises in Enfield’s rental market is the highest Andrew has seen in three decades working in the industry. He said he found the whole situation “really frustrating” and added: “They need to devise a way to create more social housing stock – that can’t be bought in a few years and taken out of the social rent market.”

Separately, new data released last month revealed that nearly one-in-three Enfield families have adult children living at home – the second-highest rate in England and Wales. The Census 2021 figures show that 28,500 Enfield families had at least one adult child living with them at the time of the survey, a rate of 31.9%. This puts the borough behind only Brent, where 32.4% of families had an adult child at home. The 31.9% rate for Enfield is up significantly on the 24.5% figure recorded in 2011.

Matt Burn, from campaign group Better Homes Enfield, said: “Young adults are being priced out of living in Enfield. The result is that households are overcrowded, and young families are leaving Enfield. We are already seeing significant falls in demand for school places.

“Addressing this in the short-term requires removing the housing benefit cap, introducing rent controls, and measures to reduce the number of properties left vacant or used as short-term lets.

“Longer term, Enfield needs to build far more genuinely affordable social rent homes, something which the borough has performed very poorly on in recent years.”

Are you a renter in Enfield? Tell us your experience of renting in the borough:
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