A deposit alternative service claims online searches by tenants reflect increased uncertainty over affordability.
Deposit alternatives are under scrutiny at the moment following a statement from the Competition and Markets Authority that it would investigate the niche sector as it surfaced as an “area of concern” regarding consumer rights. Deposit alternatives have also been the subject of probes by The Observer newspaper and comment from the Citizens Advice charity in recent years.
However one deposit alternative service - Zero Deposit - has analysed Google search term trends around renting to reveal which topics have seen the largest increase in interest from tenants.
The research suggests that more tenants are worried about the cost of renting compared to six months ago.
Search popularity for the term ‘rental affordability’ rose by 81.2 per cent between April 2023 and August 2023.
Tenant legal rights was another area that attracted more searches, with the interest score rising by 45.2 per cent over the last six months.
Meanwhile, searches for the term eviction notice climbed by 13.2 per cent.
Searches for the terms tenancy agreement and rent arrears also saw an increase in popularity over the last six months.
The service’s chief executive Sam Reynolds claims: “Rental market affordability remains the biggest concern for the nation’s tenants and this is evident given the huge increase in search interest seen over the last six months alone.
“However, there has also been a notable uplift in interest around tenant rights and evictions. This isn’t unsurprising given the generally low level of understanding of both topics alongside new additions to the Renters Reform Bill, including the proposed abolition of Section 21 evictions.
“Interestingly far fewer are currently interested in finding a property, indicating that most tenants want to stay put rather than leave.
“Rents have increased by 9.56 per cent in the last 12 months, so for many, the cost to move is simply prohibitive. This also explains why they want to know where they stand with respect to their current rights.”