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Tenant affordability anxieties reflected in search activity

TENANTS are increasingly looking into affordability, their rights and eviction notices, reflecting how the market has been challenging for renters in the past 6 months.

The research comes from Zero Deposit, the tenancy deposit alternative, which analysed Google search term trends around renting to reveal which topics have seen the largest increase in interest from tenants.

The interest score represents interest relative to maximum search popularity. It does not refer to the overall number of searches, but rather a term's popularity. A score of 100 indicates maximum popularity.

The research suggests that more tenants are worried about the cost of renting compared to 6 months ago. Search popularity for the term:- 'rental affordability' rose by 81.2% between:- April 2023 and August 2023, the largest increase of all search terms analysed by Zero Deposit.

Tenant legal rights was another area that attracted more searches, with the interest score rising by 45.2% over the last 6 months.

Meanwhile, searches for the term eviction notice climbed by 13.2%, followed by the rental deposit (+10.9%) and deposit protection (+8.8%).

Searches for the terms tenancy agreement and rent arrears also saw an increase in popularity over the last 6 months at 5.8% and 1.9% respectively.

It's likely that the increase in these search terms is being driven by the noise around the proposed abolition of Section 21 evictions. While there has been a great deal of media attention on this particular subject, it's still on its journey through parliament as part of the wider Renters Reform Bill and won 't come into force until this bill becomes an Act.

Interestingly fewer tenants are searching for rental properties, as the interest score fell by -52.5% when compared to 6 months ago.

This suggests that many are looking to avoid the increased costs associated with securing a new rental property, with the latest figures from HomeLet showing that the average UK rent is now £1,283, having increased by 9.56% in the last year alone.

There were also fewer searches about rental property conditions (-51.1%) and rent increases or rising rents (-14.4%).

Sam Reynolds, CEO of Zero Deposit commented:- "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. Deposits and deposit protection have also seen an increase in interest, which further demonstrates how the financial cost of renting plays a major role in the decision making process of the nation's renteres. 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% 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."

Let us know your thoughts on this news topic... Email our Newsroom at:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com or send us a message on:- Mastodon, Facebook, or Twitter.

Tax Credits recipients to receive Cost of Living Payment

AROUND 840,000 families, who receive Tax Credits and no other qualifying benefits, will receive their £300 autumn Cost of Living Payment, to help with everyday costs.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is making the payments to eligible Tax Credits customers across the UK between:- 10 November and 19 November 2023.

In addition, more than 7 million eligible UK households are receiving £300 directly from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between:- 31 October and 19 November 2023.

This is the second of 3 payments totalling up to £900 for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as:- Universal Credit, Pension Credit, or Tax Credits, in:- 2023 to 2024.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:- "I know Christmas can be a difficult time, which is why this £300 payment will come as a welcome boost for hundreds of thousands of families. But the best help we can give is halving inflation this year."

Angela MacDonald, HMRC's Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary, said:- "The £300 Cost of Living Payment will deliver further financial support to eligible Tax Credits customers across the UK. Another payment will be made by spring 2024 to those entitled to receive it. HMRC customers will receive the payment automatically, with no action required from them, to make this as simple as possible."

The payment from HMRC to Tax Credits customers will appear on bank statements as:- 'HMRC COLS,' referencing Cost of Living Support. Those receiving the payment from DWP will see the payment reference as their National Insurance number followed by:- 'DWP COL.'

If customers have not received the Cost of Living Payment from HMRC between the published payment dates, but believe they are eligible, they should wait until after:- 20 November 2023, to contact us. This is to allow time for their bank, building society or credit union to process the payment.

Receiving a previous Cost of Living Payment does not guarantee customers will get a future one. Customers must meet the individual eligibility criteria for each payment, as published on:- Gov.UK.

Payment from HMRC will be made automatically into the bank account where eligible customers receive their Tax Credits. They do not need to do anything to receive a payment. They do not need to contact HMRC or apply for the payment.

Pensioner households will also receive £300 which will be paid as a top up to those eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment in November and December. Combined with the 1 off Cost of Living Disability Payment earlier this year, some households will receive £1,350 in total.

Customers should beware of scams targeting Cost of Living Payments. If someone contacts them about this payment saying they are from HMRC or DWP, it might be a scam. People can check advice on spotting scams by visiting GOV.UK and searching:- 'HMRC phishing and scams.' They can also check on:- Gov.UK that any contact is genuinely from HMRC.

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