The number of ‘bills inclusive’ tenancies has plummeted, just as energy prices soar.
That’s the claim from PropTech firm Vouch, which says there’s been a steady collapse in the number of properties offering fixed costs for rent plus bills.
Specifically, it claims the number of tenancies advertised as having ‘bills included’ in July 2022 was 90 per cent lower than figures recorded in January this year.
The proportion of tenancies being offered inclusive of bills in January and February of this year was consistent with levels seen throughout 2021. However, in March, just ahead of the first of the price cap changes in April, numbers dramatically decreased.
A tiny fraction of all tenancies - just 1.75 per cent - were being offered as inclusive of bills by July. This is down from 19.8 per cent of all tenancies in January.
Vouch bases its figures on its processing of over 10,000 tenancies each month.
The PropTech firm’s chief executive Simon Tillyer says: “Tenancies where the cost of bills is rolled into one monthly fee have always been relatively common - particularly with student lets or houses of multiple occupancy.
“But the massive, and growing, rise in energy bill costs means that landlords are very reticent to commit to bills inclusive offers. With so much uncertainty around just how high costs will go over the next 6 months, I’m not surprised ‘bills included’ tenancies have pretty much disappeared. Tenants and landlords are grappling with a new rental landscape and we’re seeing patterns of behaviour shift accordingly.”
Last week Rightmove said the most popular search term from prospective renters scouring the portal in recent months was ‘Bills Included’.
The portal says that this term - which was only the sixth most searched-for term a year ago - has now overtaken other key search words such as ‘pets’ and ‘gardens’ and ‘garages’.
The energy price cap in April this year increased by 54 per cent which was at that time a record; over the Bank Holiday weekend the cap increased by a further 80 per cent - a new record - to an average of £3,549 per household per year.
The price of electricity will rise on average from 28p per kilowatt hour to 52p in October-December and gas will go up from 7p to 15p per kwh.