private rented sector

Rents might be about to rise but landlords can still keep tenants happy

With the latest news that as many as two million private tenants could see their rents rise at some point this year, landlords can address their tenants’ worries through better communication.

Around 43% of tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) are worried about the rising costs of renting according to new research, and with as many as 40% of landlords planning to bump up their rents during 2018, the issue is one that will have to be faced by many in the sector.

Average rents across the UK are now just over £900 a month, says online letting agent MakeUrMove, which could rise by an average of £23 if landlords follow through with their plans to up their bills this year.

What landlords can do for their tenants

But it seems that while the cost of renting is top of the list of concerns for almost half of private tenants, a survey by PRSim found that renters would be willing to pay an additional £20 for private parking, £24 if they were allowed to have a pet and £28 for inclusive house cleaning – a clear indication that while putting rent up is not popular, it would be more acceptable if it were to come with tangible improvements for the tenants.

Another factor that could improve the sector for tenants would be better communication from letting agents and landlords, which 10% of renters said was a major concern – 3% more than in the previous survey a year ago. Fees were another issue for 34% of tenants surveyed, which is a hot topic at the moment as the government looks at banning letting agent fees for tenants later this year.

Tenants were asked by PRSim to rank their priorities when renting, and the results could be interesting to landlords looking to improve their offerings and remain competitive. Top of the list with a score of 4.7 out of 5 was the property’s condition; next with 4.6 out of 5 was value for money, landlord quality and agent communication; parking scored 4.1 as a top priority; and finally having a garden scored 3.6 out of 5.

Catering to different tenant types

The survey separated private tenants into four primary types: young independents aged 18-24; flexible professionals aged 25-44; budgeting families aged 25-44; and long-term renters aged 45-plus. The results showed a wide variation in priority levels – something which landlords can bear in mind when catering for their target market.

David Bond, head of PRS & Build to Rent at PRSim, said: “What has become evident is that tenants have different priorities depending on what life stage they may be at, and that, while many could be guilty of assuming that renting is only for the young, there are vast and growing demand from tenants of all ages and, increasingly, from older renters who are reconciled – and happy – to rent in the longer term.”

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