Redefining the rules of renting

LSL Property Services have published the results of their 2018 Tenant Survey. The results make for interesting reading.

In their report, LSL outline some exciting new trends in the way that renting is changing.

Measuring their findings against a principle they have named ‘Redefining the rules of renting’, the researchers explain that, “this research advocates challenging age old perceptions of the rental landscape and what tenants can expect to include or budget for. Giving tenants greater choice in how they budget and plan for their own future can forge great trust between tenant and landlord.”

LSL have also focused on fostering strong dialogue with tenants, because “both tenants and landlords place good communication at the heart of a strong tenant/landlord relationship.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Communication is key

By opening up channels of communication between tenants and landlords, digital platforms are breaking down the traditional barriers to dialogue. They’re also setting out terms clearly and honestly so that everybody knows where they stand. This transparency allows for greater trust between both sides of the community, and helps tenants budget effectively.

And the need to do so has never been greater, as LSL reveals the average rental deposit in England and Wales is now over £1000 (and as much as £1,750 in London). Trying to raise this money on top of the first few months of rent, the physical costs of moving and setting up new utility bills is, in fact, driving two in five new tenants into debt.

“When we consider that tenants planning a move often have to raise a deposit for a new flat before they receive their previous deposit back, it can often place enormous strain on tenant cash-flow,” researchers report. This, in turn, hits landlords where it hurts, as their properties can sit empty for longer periods of time while tenants struggle to get their financial house in order.

Looking to the future

It’s unsurprising, then, that over half (51%) of the tenants surveyed as part of the study declared that they are either very or quite interested in an alternative, or insurance backed, deposit scheme. Those most likely to be drawn to tenancy deposit alternatives tended to be on lower incomes, as well as those with young families with less disposable income.

Tenancy deposit alternatives, like flatfair, are still a relatively new concept, but they’re quickly gaining ground. By paying a one-off, affordable membership fee, tenants are relieved of the burden a weighty deposit places on their shoulders, safe in the knowledge that they will only be charged for any lawful claims when they move out of the property.

In the interests of open communication, they can discuss these directly with their landlord via the flatfair platform, either paying, countering or negotiating claims. They can also access an Independent Dispute Resolution service if they want to.

At the same time, landlords are offered double the protection afforded by standard tenancy deposit schemes and receive quick payouts thanks to flatfair’s cutting edge technology. By attracting tenants who want to better manage their cashflow, they’ll likely re-let their properties faster and put themselves at risk of fewer void periods.

It will be interesting to compare the results of next year’s survey to see how attitudes towards tenancy deposit alternatives have evolved by that time. One thing is for sure though: the rules of renting are already being rewritten. For the better.