Rents increased 1.3% year-on-year in August to leave them just £1 behind the record of £744 when the market peaked in October 2012, says LSL Property Services.
The firm puts the rise down to an influx of students renting private homes near universities.
The firm also points out that government financial incentives for first time buyers had dented demand earlier in the year, but despite the help to buy, many first time buyers still could not afford to put together the deposit needed for a mortgage.
LSL also explained a lack of affordable housing was also causing a shortage of properties both for renters and first time buyers.
The annual buy to let rent increase is half the rate of inflation.
The regions with the highest buy to let rent increases in the year are London (4.8%) and Wales (2.3%). The lowest was Yorkshire and Humberside (1.6%).
Meanwhile, landlord insurance firm Homelet also released buy to let rent statistics ' saying rents increased 0.4% in September and 5.6% year-on-year.
The insurer sets the average rent at £649 a month and explained the figure was a 1.4% decrease on the previous 12 months.
LSL figures cover England and Wales, while Homelet are UK-wide.
Both figures are based on each firm?s customer base, which may skew the figures due to where branches are based or type of customer based on pricing.
Generally, house prices are at their highest ever ' with values passing the previous January 2008 peak by 0.8%, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
August house prices are 3.8% higher than 12 months earlier.
Although prices are subject to local and regional variation, the ONS says prices are stable across the UK and are expected to continue to rise as mortgage availability eases and government incentives to help first time buyers make an impact on the market.
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