Private rental prices in the UK rose 1.1 per cent in the year to February, according to the office for national statistics.
On a monthly basis, rents increased by 1 per cent.
In England and Wales specifically, prices grew 1.1 per cent over the 12 months to February, and in Scotland, by 0.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, the figures show a subdued market in London, with private rental prices growing 0.2 per cent witihin the same time frame. When the capital is taken out of the equation, UK rental growth moves up to 1.5 per cent annually.
Imla executive director Kate Davies says: “After filing their 2017-18 tax returns at the end of January, landlords will be more aware that ongoing changes to mortgage interest tax relief are increasing the financial challenges facing them .
“While the need to increase income hasn’t yet crystallised, the pressure to increase rental prices is likely to be mounting.
“The chancellor’s spring statement featured a number of announcements regarding initiatives to increase housing supply for new homeowners – but was silent in respect of the government’s strategy in relation to the private rented sector.
“The previous chancellor’s policy, of seeking to re-calibrate the balance between the PRS and owner-occupation, has stymied rental property investment growth, a trend which is likely to persist through 2019.
“Supporting landlords should go hand-in-hand with helping people get on the property ladder. Forcing landlords to increase rents in order to make ends meet ultimately has a detrimental effect on renters’ ability to save for deposits to buy their own homes.
“The National Landlords Association has predicted that changes to landlord taxation are likely to increase receipts by almost £2bn within the next five years: the government should seize this opportunity to ensure that the health of the private rental sector is not eroded further, and that the number of available rental properties does not continue to decrease.”