Put the tenant back into tenancy agreements

Put the tenant back into tenancy agreements

07 August 2018 | Harriet Garner

The government recently announced that it was consulting on mandatory 3-year tenancy agreements. This announcement has divided opinion, with many in the private rented sector strongly arguing that this is not reflective of what renters actually want.

In a bid to bring long-term security to the lettings market, the government have been criticised for overlooking what many gain from the flexibility of renting.

But what do renters actually want? With the renting demographic diversifying at such a rapid rate, a one size fits all approach is simply not realistic.

Taking time to understand the positions of renters is the most effective way of coming to a solution.

We decided to get the renter point of view.

The millennial renter

Greg is in his mid-twenties and moved to London at the end of 2017 to begin working at the London Ambulance Service. He was the winner of our £200 Amazon voucher giveaway.

“What initially drew me to my property was the fact that everything was included. Out of the context of London, obviously it’s expensive but I was prepared for that. From a budgeting perspective being clear on exactly how much money will come out of my account on a specific day is a real plus point for me and it has allowed me to easily financially plan for the month” explains Greg.

“Another huge pull was the flexibility. I initially signed a 6-month contract, and since then I’ve been on a rolling contract that I can get out of pretty quickly if I want to. This works really well for me, I could be posted somewhere different for work without much notice so it’s good to know I wouldn’t be forced to live somewhere due being tied to a lengthy tenancy agreement.”

Greg lives in a house-share with four other housemates, “We all get on well and it’s been a good way to make friends in London. My landlady is a superstar – the service she promised in her advert has lived up to my expectation. When looking for properties on Spare Room I set an age range and all my housemates have fallen within it. We even have a cleaner thrown into the price – which is such a great bonus.”

“For me, the reason I moved to London was due to work. The nature of my work is flexible, so I really need a tenancy agreement length that matches up with that.”

The family renter

Ildiko moved to London two years ago with her two teenage children. She was the lucky winner of our £200 Uber Voucher competition.

When hunting for a property, finding a place to build a stable home was of the utmost importance for Ildiko and her family.

“When we first arrived in London, we were in a house share which made laying down roots as a family a bit difficult. That’s why we were so thrilled to find our flat with Red Door Ventures – finally a place to call our own! We’ve been there a year and have just renewed our tenancy agreement and love it.”

Certainty of tenancy length was crucial to Ildiko, “Obviously having the children in local schools is really important and the flat is close to great transport links making it easy for me to get to work and for us to get around London and visit friends – building a life in London that I can be certain about has been really important.”

Understandably, the thought of a 3-year tenancy agreement is appealing to Ildiko, “but I also think transparency is really important – that’s what is great about Red Door, the amount of rent to be paid and the length of tenancy has been very clear.”

“I think for families a longer tenancy agreement makes sense, but I understand for the younger generations they might not want to be tied in. It would be great if there were different types of tenancy agreement options available that were transparent and easy to understand.”

Renter engagement

Ultimately, engagement with renters is crucial to developing a service offering that appeals to the many and not the few. Letting agents and landlords should be thinking about creating a diverse service offering that matches up with the changing renter demographic and their demands.

Establishing an ongoing dialogue with renters is the surest way to keep abreast with what they want to see from a service. By tapping into this through regular feedback campaigns, letting agents and other rented accommodation providers will see greater retention, increase in market share and in some cases, an uptick in revenue.

Our perks and engagement platforms are the simple and smart way to better understand your renters to the benefit of your lettings business. Want to know more? We’re always happy to have a chat – get in touch.