A typical tenant? "No
such thing any more..." says Belvoir
THE idea of a "typical tenant"
has disappeared from the UK's private rental sector. They no longer exist;
according to the country's largest property franchise Belvoir, which has 6
offices on Merseyside. Middle aged professionals are now renting alongside
teenage students in a market that has turned on its head in the last 2 decades.
"It says as much about our society, today, as it does about the country's
housing crisis. Divorce, redundancy and relocation are now common reasons for
renting a home and even flat-sharing with strangers; as property prices carry on
rising and availability continues to drop. At 1 time you might have pictured a
typical tenant as a university undergraduate or low income earner, but that's
old hat now. The private residential property market just isn't that simple
these days; especially in London." says Adam Rastall, who owns the Belvoir office on Mill
Lane in West Derby.
Belvoir's comments come after new figures show nearly 20% of people rent their
home in the private sector; almost double the 2003 figure. And in London,
alone, the number of private tenants has trebled.
The sector is now a vital provider for Britain's chronic housing crisis where
new build targets are not being met and a 60% increase in the price of an
average UK home is squeezing out all but the most affluent buyer; in all age
and social groups. It's 1 reason why flat sharing is becoming an option for a growing number of
people in their 40's and 50's; Saga has reported that a 3rd of over 50's are
renting. "The tenant generation used to be quite young; from students through to
singles and couples who saw renting as a better way of using their income; but
it has a much broader demographic profile these days." says Ron Wilson,
who owns the Belvoir office on High Street in Prescot.
There are several reasons:-
The young people of 20 years ago are now grown up, may never have earned enough
to buy their own home, and the older you get the more difficult it becomes to
get a mortgage.
With stagnant wage growth, and rising house prices, young people just don't
stand a chance on the housing ladder.
Others opt to rent as a lifestyle choice knowing that their monthly overheads
At the top end of the scale many business people are renting weekday bases close
to their work and commuting home at weekends. And with rising divorce rates,
couples that split are discovering the true cost of living alone.
But, as demand rises, single people living alone in family homes also hamper the
UK's limited housing stock. According to the Office for National Statistics the
number of 1 person households is expected to increase by 25% in the next 23
years; to hog 33% of the total market by 2039.
Dorian Gonsalves, Managing Director of the 170 branch Belvoir network, says that
a solution is long overdue to help flesh out the UK housing stock that is
desperately needed by 10 million tenants. "The private rented sector needs good quality family homes,
but a rising number is destined to stay occupied by single people; which will
not solve the overall problem. So called 'accidental landlords' are helping.
Typically, people who inherit a property or house owners who struggle to sell
their homes and choose to rent them out instead to provide an additional income
or supplement their pension."
At the Belvoir office on Sir Thomas Street in central Liverpool, owner Paul Rice
adds:- "This will always be part of a big growth area. But it can be a
tricky one for new 'accidental landlords' who are not as familiar as experienced
professional landlords with the pitfalls and realities. That's where a good
letting agent, with a deep understanding of local market trends and
availability, becomes invaluable. In a UK market, with the many challenges
it faces, we are better placed than most to match the right landlords, and the
most suitable local properties, to satisfy the tastes and needs of today's wide
variety of tenants who are looking for them."