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Revealed: What Tenants Really Look for in a Rental Property

As a landlord, do you often wonder what a potential tenant is really looking for when viewing your property, and what property attributes top their ‘must-have’ lists?

You could be forgiven for believing modern luxuries like a dishwasher, dryer or even a king-sized bed would tick their boxes, however, new research has revealed that physical conveniences such as these are WAY down the list of priorities…

In fact, it’s what a property offers on a more emotional level – the things that make a home a home – that are more important from a tenant’s point of view.  This is evidenced by new research that has revealed a rental property that allows pets is much more important to UK tenants than appliances or a nice bed.

 

Renters deem pet-friendly properties, unfurnished homes and those with access to a garden as most desirable

Brits are well-known for being a nation of pet-lovers so it should really come as no surprise that nearly one-in-seven (14 per cent) of renters listed ‘pets being allowed in the property’ as their most important requirement. This figure nearly doubled for renters/animal lovers in the North East where 27 per cent of respondents listed a pet-friendly property as their top must-have.

An unfurnished home was UK renters’ second most requested attribute, with 12 per cent of tenants selecting this option. Furthermore, the research found tenants aged 55 and above (22%) were five times more likely to consider an unfurnished property as crucially important than those aged between 18 and 34 (4%), quite likely because they have had years more to build up their own beloved furniture.

 

Dishwashers, dryers and king-sized beds ranked at the bottom of Brits’ desirability lists

A garden was ranked as the third most desirable feature, with 11 per cent of tenants rating outdoor space as their most important attribute. Out of these, parents were more than twice as likely to prioritise a garden compared to tenants without children.

Off-street parking and the quality of a property’s décor came fourth and fifth respectively while having a dryer came bottom of the list with just one per cent of renters considering it key. A king-sized bed, a balcony, and a dishwasher also polled just one per cent of the vote while just two per cent of private renters considered a new build property as a priority.

 

Tenants reveal the most desirable attributes in a rental property

Top Five Attributes Bottom Five Attributes
Pets allowed 14% Dryer 1%
Unfurnished 12% King-sized bed 1%
Garden 11% Balcony 1%
Off-Street parking 9% Dishwasher 1%
Quality of décor 7% New build 2%

This research from Landbay, a platform offering prime residential buy-to-let mortgages, that delved into the psyche of 2,000 private renters in the UK offers some handy insights into the wants and needs of the UK’s c.4.5 million private tenants. Deborah Mudway, Director, Landbay commented:

This research shows renters value two key attributes above all others that are fundamentally free to provide [sic]. In short, they want to make their property feel like home by bringing both pets and their own furniture with them. With regards the possible pitfalls of allowing pets, Mudway suggested: “Aside from a deeper clean at the end of a tenancy, this really isn’t hard for landlords to implement.” 

However, since June, when the ban on tenant fees came into force, it appears the practice of landlords charging higher monthly rents to pet owners to recoup potential losses from damage caused by pets has become more prevalent.

Under the Tenant Fees Act, landlords and letting agents are no longer able to take a higher security deposit for tenants with pets but instead, can set the rent of the tenancy at a level for the wear and tear that the pet may cause. This is putting pet owners at a financial disadvantage.

 

Tenants with pets are being charged up to £600 a year more in rent!

In an article in The Sun that reveals that tenants with pets are being charged up to £600 a year more in rent as landlords look to recover fees lost following the launch of the tenants fee ban this summer, David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, the trade body for the lettings industry commented: “This practice is a direct result of capping deposits under the tenant fees ban, as this problem didn’t exist before June 1.”

So, are landlords right to charge pet owners more on a monthly basis to cover the cost of potential damage caused by the pets or should this figure be capped? £600 per year versus a slightly larger deposit certainly sounds like things are heading in the wrong direction.

Either way, it may be a good idea to say ‘yes’ to pets to open your rental property up to the widest possible market. Mudway agrees: “Essentially, landlords knowing what renters want can make for a happier, more prosperous relationship which benefits both parties in the long run.”

Do you allow pets in your properties? What are your thoughts on charging extra in rent to cover potential damage by our furry friends?

 

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Alex Wright, Editor