Will Leyland, 17 May 2017
There is no indication right now that the need for private rental accommodation is going to decrease significantly despite the best efforts of government to boost house building. The ‘housing crisis’ has meant that the number of families renting long term has increased steadily since the early 2000s.
With such strong house price growth since the late 1990s it was always set to be a natural side effect that those coming in to market at the bottom would find it hard to raise the capital required to purchase such a solid asset. So it has proved to be as home ownership rates have fallen because of rising house prices.
When the issue came to national attention, the main focus was the fact that young people were failing to get themselves on the housing ladder due to inability to save a deposit big enough. However, this has now become a nationwide issue with families especially now making up a large section of long term renters.
With that in mind there has been a lot of focus placed on improving the experience of renting for both tenants and landlords, and part of that process has been encouraging licensed and reputable letting agents into the market in order to manage the process and ensure that both parties are happy with the terms of their agreement.
This appears to have been paying off as it has been reported this week that an increasing number of renters are ‘very happy’ with their living situation, based on a study of over 3,000 tenants.
The figures from the LSL Corporate Client Department’s 2017 Tenant Survey found that 32% of renters claim to be ‘very happy’, up from 28% last year. A further 37% indicated that they are ‘happy’, increasing marginally from 36% in 2016. Just 4% of tenants said they were ‘very unhappy’, down from 6%, while 7% said they were ‘unhappy’, down from 9%. LSL says the increased satisfaction among tenants is due to a reduction in frustrations with maintenance, fees and restrictions.
It also shows that long term renting, classed as those having rented for 6 years or longer, has increased 4% from 29% in 2016.
The report split the samples in to interesting sub-sections with four groups identified as Younger Independents, Struggling Savers, Moving Up and Reconciled with Renting.
Struggling Savers and Moving Up groups are likely to be renting due to a lack of ability to get together a deposit and are looking to enter the housing market at the earliest opportunity. The other groups, Younger Independents and Reconciled with Renting, are more likely to be happy with the flexibility and lack of maintenance responsibility that comes with renting a property.
The condition of the rental property and value for money were the two most important deal breakers for the tenants surveyed. These were followed by good communications with landlords and letting agents and the overall quality of the landlord. Meanwhile, 28% of tenants said they’d pay more to be allowed to keep pets and 21% said they’d pay more for high speed internet. The majority of the tenants surveyed rent unfurnished accommodation, 56% are aged under 35 and 41% have children.
Clearly the results show a very positive evolution of the rental market as we move away from the negative ‘crisis’ stereotypes of miserable young renters unable to buy a house and more towards happy renters who are content with their situation either as a medium term arrangement whilst they wait for their opportunity to buy or as a long term solution that allows flexibility and freedom.
Letting agents have played no small part in this development and it shows once again the benefits of having reputable and experienced agents managing the relationships between tenants and landlords.
Will Leyland, 17 May 2017