The number of new tenancies for private rented properties in England and Wales increased during 2020 despite the restrictions and economic problems caused by Covid.

Research by deposit replacement scheme Ome crunched data from government-approved deposit protection scheme mydeposits and discovered that there was a year-on-year increase in the number of new tenancies logged with their schemes for private rented properties in England and Wales during 2020.

There were a total of 394,156 new tenancies recorded by mydeposits’ insurance and custodial schemes in England and Wales during 2020.

Covid pandemic

This reveals an increase of just under 2% on the previous year, with 386,6027 new tenancies being recorded in 2019.

This number is surprisingly similar considering the widespread ramifications and restructuring caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But more in-depth quarterly analysis also revealed that in the first quarter of 2019 there were 87,446 new tenancies across mydeposits’ insurance and custodial schemes in England and Wales, compared with 82,410 in 2020; demonstrating a 5.8 percent drop during the initial stages of the pandemic.

The second quarter of 2019 saw a wider divergence, with 82,436 new tenancies in 2019 compared with 68,121 in the same period of 2020.

This decrease of over 20 per cent is perhaps due to the disruption which saw a national lockdown and halt to house moves from March to May 2020.


In the third quarter of 2019, mydeposits recorded 120,542 new tenancies, a number eclipsed in 2020 with 145,733 new tenancies recorded during the same period. This increase of over 20 per cent can be attributed to pent-up interest in moving home which was dampened during the first lockdown.

Finally, the fourth and final quarter of 2019 saw 95,603 new tenancies compared with 96,092 in 2020.

But the pandemic did cause disruption. For example, during March, April and May 2020, when the rental market was partially shut down, there were only 63,680 new tenancies protected with mydeposits. This is compared with 83,252 during the same period of 2019: demonstrating a 30 percent drop.

Commenting on these findings Matthew Hooker Co-Founder of Deposit Replacement Scheme Ome, said: “It is always interesting to collate data at the end of the calendar year to make comparisons and predictions.

2020 has seen widespread changes in people’s working and spending habits, so it is surprising that the number of new rental tenancies remained relatively unchanged. However, closer inspection of the data demonstrates the fluctuation in numbers of new tenancies from month to month, as the rental market was effectively closed at the start of the pandemic from March to May 2020.

While the total numbers may appear to be similar, it is clear that the pandemic has had an overall impact on renters. It is possible that this impact may be further felt over the coming weeks, months and year as coronavirus continues to impact our way of life.

What is reassuring for landlords and tenants is that the private rented sector remains resolute, having weathered many a storm, its resilience and flexibility is reassuring heading into 2021.

Although we are currently in the midst of a third national lockdown, there is not only a glimmer of hope on the horizon as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, but it also seems that the Government has recognised the importance of keeping the private rented sector open, albeit in a COVID secure manner.

For a more in depth look at Ome’s rental market predictions for 2021, check out the blog entitled Ome’s 2021 predictions of the rental market.’


  1. Just because the number of deposits lodged with mydeposits has gone up does not mean that the number of tenancies has gone up.

    To be able to draw a credible conclusion deposits from the other schemes must be taken into account.

    It could well be that the number of deposits lodged with mydeposits has increased to the detriment of the other deposit schemes.

    There is an increase of just over 2% in the number of deposits lodged with mydeposits, but, if there was a 20%, say, fall in deposits lodged with the other schemes then renting numbers would have actually fallen.

    Drawing conclusions from incomplete data is, potentially, a recipe for disaster and is certainly misleading.

  2. Indeed so correct.
    I predict when the eviction ban ends…………………………..Eventually!! That many LL will be selling up if they haven’t been repossessed by lenders.

    Many LL may well have exhausted their finances whilst they have been subsidising feckless rent defaulting tenants who have been poncing off them.

    They will not wish to risk another eviction ban and will sell up

    The calculation will be made by many LL that they could not afford to subsidise feckless rent defaulting tenants again.

    So they will sell up.


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