Tenants staying put for longer to avoid record high rents

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3 min read
Tenants  Wind turbines are seen behind houses in Burton Latimer, Britain, March 30, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers
Tenants are staying put for longer as rents rocket. Photo: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Tenants are looking to stay in their existing rental property for longer rather than moving elsewhere and potentially being hit by record high rents.

Rents advertised outside London are rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, standing at £1,088 per month in May, up 11% on the same time last year. It is a similar story in the capital where rents are up over 14% to £2,195, Rightmove said.

Amid soaring rent prices, almost 1,300 landlords found that the most common length of tenancy is over two years, with 18% of landlords saying their average length of tenancy has increased over the past year. Only 5% of landlords have seen the average tenancy length decrease.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of landlords told Rightmove they have kept rents the same for their tenants over the past year, with the remaining 37% saying they have increased their rents.

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Some agents in bigger cities reported that tenants who would have been able to move into a property during the pandemic for a much lower rent than the normal average for the area have since seen rents return to higher levels as demand has increased.

As living costs soar, Rightmove said there has also been an increase in tenants focusing on properties where all bills are included.

Over the past year enquiries from tenants have jumped by 36% for this type of property — the biggest increase out of all available features. Homes with balconies, communal gardens, properties allowing pets and those offering zero deposits all came equal second, with enquiries jumping by 22%.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “A shortage of rental homes and strong demand for the properties available has led to a greater number of tenants choosing to renew their leases and stay put, rather than re-enter a competitive rental market.

“People who had been waiting to see what happened last year are now being faced with record rents and so are seeking out properties where they can have more certainty over their outgoings, with all bills included becoming increasingly sought after.

Read more: Cost of living: UK rent hikes bigger concern than energy bills

“Landlords may have been tempted to put their rents up given the high demand from new tenants, but many understand the affordability challenges of rising rents and bills, as our study shows that the majority are charging their tenants the same as a year ago.

“Many landlords build up a relationship with their tenants over a number of years, and they will want to keep a good tenant for longer if they can, rather than cash in on a rent rise in the short term.”

Some agents in bigger cities report that tenants who were able to move into a property for much lower than the average rent for an area during the pandemic have seen rents increase back up to market value again now that demand has increased.

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