Landlords: What do UK tenants want from their rental properties?

The most successful landlords are those that put their tenants first and cater for their needs, but it’s not always easy to know what today’s renters really want.

Getting good tenants is a top priority for most landlords, so making your rental property attractive to the widest range of people is probably the best place to start. It goes without saying that a property in a great location, in a good state of repair and at a competitive price will be more popular, but there are many other factors that can influence success.

A new study carried out by lending platform Landbay has surveyed 2,000 of today’s renters to compile a list of the top things tenants are looking for in their rental homes.

1. Pets allowed?

Interestingly, allowing pets came out on top with 14% of tenants saying this would be their most important requirement – but when delving deeper, this very much depends on the location of the property. In the north-east, more than a quarter (27%) of respondents prioritised their furry friends, while in London, perhaps unsurprisingly, only 3% wanted pets in the home.

Whether to allow pets in a rental property is a very personal choice for a landlord, who must weigh up the potential cons of an increased risk of pet-related damage, for example, with the benefit of attracting a wider range of tenants. If you are letting out a city centre apartment, though, there could be a clause in the building’s rules that forbids pets, and it might be less likely that renters living in this location would have an animal.

2. Furnished or unfurnished

Second on the list of ‘wants’ for tenants was an unfurnished home, with 12% selecting this as the main selling point. There was a split in results for different age groups, with over a fifth (22%) of over-55s opting for an unfurnished property, compared to just 4% of younger renters.

This is important because the typical renter in today’s market is older than they used to be, as homeownership is now happening later in life than ever. While landlords may have aimed their properties primarily at youngsters in the past, they must now make their homes attractive to more mature tenants, and cater for their needs, so it might be worthwhile considering offering your property without furniture. This can also add to a tenant’s sense of ‘place’ if they can furnish it with their own belongings, which in theory could encourage longer tenancies – and therefore fewer void periods for the landlord.

3. Outside space

Having a garden was another big draw for tenants, with 11% prioritising this in their househunt. While it may not be possible (or affordable) to invest in a rental property with a garden – and this may also depend on its location – if families are your target tenant then this might be worth considering. Around 15% of parents listed gardens as a desirable quality, compared to 7% of non-parents.

If having a private garden is not an option, offering a rental property close to green space or with some communal outside space might still see a higher demand than one that doesn’t have any – although for young professionals looking for a city centre flat, this may be an additional luxury rather than a priority.

Take it or leave it

When it comes to home comforts, it turns out that tenants do not put mod cons at the top of their list when looking for a rental home. Having a dryer, a king-sized bed, a balcony and a dishwasher all received just 1% of the vote in the survey.

Deborah Mudway, director at Landbay, said of the findings: “Renters value two key attributes above all others that are fundamentally free to bring in.

“In short, they want to make their property feel like home by bringing both pets and their own furniture with them. The reality is, aside from a deeper clean at the end of a tenancy, this really isn’t hard for landlords to implement.”

“Essentially, landlords knowing what renters want can make for a happier, more prosperous relationship which benefits both parties in the long run.”

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