How well do you know your tenants?
15 September 2015 1877 Views
The private rented sector is becoming an increasingly diverse place. Its growth into the UK's second largest form of housing has seen a number of different tenant groups become prominent, some of which are not traditionally associated with the PRS.
So, just who are these groups and what do letting agents need to know about them?
Young professionals have always been an important part of the PRS. However, a combination of unaffordable house prices and a cultural shift towards renting means many are staying in the sector for longer.
According to Knight Frank, young professionals have helped to drive an increase in the number of tenants living in urban areas. This has risen from 80 per cent of all renters to 86 per cent over the past decade and the growth is thought to have been driven by young professionals wanting to live in close proximity to their places of work.
Another notable trend is an increase in the number of young professionals living in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Earlier this year, north-west letting agency the Mistoria Group reported a 23 per cent increase in the number of these tenants living in HMOs with all-inclusive rents.
Students remain a vital part of the PRS' tenant base. Perhaps the most interesting development concerning this group is the number of foreign students moving into the rented sector from abroad. According to E J Harris, more than 100,000 international students rent in London alone, contributing close to £600 million in rental income to the PRS.
What are students' priorities when choosing a rented property? Research from Glide Utilities revealed 83 per cent see a fast internet connection as key, while 72 per cent want a home with a large amount of storage space. Interestingly, only 55 per cent said living close to their university was a major consideration.
According to Generation Rent, 2013-14 saw an increase of more than 200,000 in the number of PRS households containing parents with dependent children. As a result, this group accounted for 21.3 per cent of overall tenants.
What do families look for in rented properties? Size is obviously an important consideration, as is having a garden in which children can play. Another major factor is proximity to schools. Indeed, research from urban.co.uk revealed more than eight in ten tenants with children would pay up to 25 per cent more to rent close to a good school.
A smaller, but significant tenant group is retirees. Back in 2013, Prudential reported that one in four retired households were actually renting, mainly due to high property prices meaning many people have simply never been able to afford their own home. With house prices only increasing, it seems certain this trend will continue for some time.
It's clear the PRS is now a much more diverse place than it was in the past, but what does this mean for letting agents? To be able to provide the best service, it's important to understand each of these tenant groups and what they look for in a rented property. This way, your agency can offer a more bespoke, tailored service that will stand out from the crowd.
Growth of the PRS making it hard to keep on top of your workload? Rentman's letting agent software can make all the difference.
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