With more than five million people, accounting for 20 per cent of all residents, now living in PRS properties across the UK, it’s more important than ever that letting agents offer people the sort of property and lifestyle that they are looking for.
Living in rental properties is increasing beeing seen as a choice, centred around flexibility and freedom, that people make as an alternative to buying, whereas in years gone by it was a market mainly dominated by people unable to afford to buy a property.
This can often mean that tenants are more demanding, often looking for rental homes that offer something that fits in with their way of life.
New research from Knight Frank has shown the most common factors that influence where and what people choose to rent in 2015. We take a look at a few of these.
The reason many young people now choose renting over buying is that it gives them the freedom in their career that they otherwise might not have, with many looking at their potential for new roles and relocating. For this reason, flexibility is an important issue for most PRS tenants.
The majority of youngsters generally looked for shorter tenancies in 2015, with 61 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds looking for a tenancy of up to a year. This number rises to 69 per cent for those aged between 18 and 24, showing how important shorter tenancies are for the upwardly mobile young professional.
With moves and relocating in mind, more are now also seeking out break clauses in their lease, which can allow them to end the tenancy early should they need to move elsewhere for their career. The majority said that inserting a clause allowing them to leave after six months would be their preferred option.
A short commute
It’s no surprise that with work influencing where and how people choose to live, the length of commute is an important factor for tenants in the modern market. For investors, therefore, choosing properties in the right areas to purchase can be vital.
The Knight Frank data indicates this factor changes on a regional basis quite significantly. Generally speaking, more than half of tenants would prefer to travel between 15 and 30 minutes or between 30 and 45 minutes to their place of work.
However, in Wales, the majority, 44 per cent, said a commute of less than half an hour is vital, compared to London, where the biggest proportion of tenants, 43 per cent, said that they would be prepared to rent somewhere that would require a commute of between 45 minutes and an hour.
Letting with pets
Perhaps a surprising factor is the growing number of people who said they want to be able to rent with a pet, but this is possibly an indicator of how tenants now see their rental property as a home rather than just a stop gap.
In the past, few tenants would have had a pet in their rented homes, but as many as 33 per cent said they would now be prepared to pay a little extra to rent from a landlord who had the flexibility to allow them to move into a rental property with their beloved pet.
Other factors that can genuinely influence where young people choose to rent are often easy to overlook, but important not to. For example, 40 per cent of young people surveyed said it would be an important factor for them that they had somewhere to store their bike in or around their rented property.