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While tenants of such properties get to enjoy these grand ancestral homes, in some longer lease agreements, they are required to commit to spending specific amounts on the restoration of the property while they live there, according to Lindsay Cuthill, of Blue Book Agency. 

“There can also be stipulations on how the work is carried out and by whom,” he says. “That way, the owners can bring in income, while seeing the house being restored to its former glory.”

For some people who own country houses they are trying to sell, the slow sales market means they are letting them out while they wait to find a buyer, while others are making hay while the sun shines. 

Emma Langlands, from buying agent Property Vision, says: “There is currently high demand for country houses among renters. Many people seeking to buy will first try renting in an area before committing to a purchase, or while they wait for a house to come up.”

This is particularly the case in buoyant markets such as the Cotswolds, where houses worth about £4m are now renting for up to £10,000 or £12,000 a month, according to Gladwin. 

“This is roughly double what they would have rented for before Covid,” he says.

Some wealthy tenants are renting while they wait for the outcome of the general election, according to Richard Winter, of the eponymous Surrey property search agency. 

“Demand for stunning country houses to rent is very strong but there just isn’t enough supply, which has helped push up rental values in and around Surrey and West Sussex,” he says. “People are nervous about the potential result of the election and impact on the housing market.”

Others are renting because they don’t want to commit to a big-ticket house purchase at current mortgage rates. Adrian Anderson, of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: “The country house sales market has gone very quiet. A lot of people have been really nervous about committing to a bigger property and mortgage.”

For Pilates teacher Harriet Bush and her yacht broker husband, Charlie, the choice to rent a country house near Somerton, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, was all about flexibility.

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