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Soaring demand for ‘bills included’ rental property - Rightmove

A new analysis of the market released this morning by Rightmove shows that this year has seen the most competitive on record. 

At its peak, there were quadruple the number of tenants enquiring about properties to move to, as there were properties to rent.

Rightmove’s ‘whole of market’ data on buyer, seller, tenant and landlord behaviour has also tracked shifts in what tenants are looking for this year.


Tenant searches for bills are up 57 per cent compared with this time last year. The significant increase in searches reflects greater concern from tenants about their energy bills, and increased interest in properties that can include bills within the monthly rent.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert says: “Tenants have shown through their search behaviour how appealing a home with bills included could be. Any landlord who is able to offer this added incentive next year, is likely to be met with an orderly queue of ready-to-go tenants to choose from.”

On the sales side, Rightmove notes that while during the pandemic, more people were looking for their next home outside of cities, in the countryside or by the Cornish coast, that has now reversed.

The portal says buyer search behaviour is back at more normal pre-pandemic patterns. Searches for London increased by nine per cent compared with 2021, while searches for Cornwall dropped by 18 per cent and by 17 per cent in Devon.

London has 36 per cent more buyer searches than Cornwall at the end of the year, which is the biggest gap since 2019. This compares to last year when there was just a three per cent gap in number of searches between London and Cornwall.

Bannister adds: “This year people searching for their next home have well and truly returned to the capital – we started to see the tide turning towards the end of last year, and throughout 2022 a lot of our trends in the market have started to head back towards where they were in 2019.

“As we head into the festive period, we’re anticipating our traditional boxing day bounce in search activity, where more future home-movers log onto Rightmove after spending Christmas with friends and family, and begin thinking about where they could live next year. We’re hearing from agents that they are getting properties ready for sale to go live on Boxing Day, ready to capture the attention of those beginning their search through to the traditionally busier January period. We’ve seen a group of people using the past few months to assess their options and consider what they can afford, and they could be spurred on next year should fixed-rate mortgages drop as anticipated.

  • David Ray Billing Better

    Offering Bills Included has been acceptable for earning additional revenues while providing a seamless process for tenants. Given the uncertainty over energy prices, it's understandable that tenants would seek a Bills Included option; the counter to this is the number of properties not offering Bills Included due to the uncertainty of energy price increases.

    The most significant area impacted must be the student letting agents who have previously used the Bills Included model for the next academic year.

    Many of these agents changed their business model when they started advertising student properties (last year) for the commencement of the academic year in September 2023 by not offering Bills included. While others introduced new measures to ensure they could achieve positive revenues within an uncertain market.

    In my opinion, the student market will move back to a new hybrid of Bills Included, where the onus will be on the tenants rather than the agents.


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