Majority of UK tenants rent as they can’t afford to buy, new research reveals

Taylor Scott International News

Almost 60% of tenants in the UK rent because they are priced out of the housing market but generally they have a positive relationship with their landlords, new research shows. Indeed the research by AXA Business Insurance challenges the popular image of a hostile tenant/landlord relationship but reveals serious concerns about energy efficiency and the safety of many rental properties. The biggest downsides of renting are finding properties in a dirty state on moving-in day and unfriendly landlords but tenants are most concerned about high energy bills as a result of poorly insulated properties and old heating systems. Gaps in essential repairs put tenants and landlords at risk, the survey suggests. Only 30% of landlords carry out the annual gas inspection required by law and 58% do not have a fire alarm fitted, among other safety failings. AXA’s survey looked at tenants’ motivations for living in a rented property. It found that there are those who have no choice. Some 59% told the survey they would prefer to buy, but quite simply can’t afford current house prices. At the other end of the scale, there is also a sizeable number of tenants, 17%, who say they choose to rent because they ‘prefer the freedom’. The deciding factor in choosing their current rental property was the size, notably the number of bedrooms, followed by price and being in a central location such as near work and shops and amenities. When asked which feature they would most appreciate added to the property, the top answer cited by 35% of tenant was an outdoors area, such as a patio, garden or balcony. Use of a garage was the second most desirable feature cited by a quarter of tenants. The biggest gripe among tenants was dealing with other people’s dirt and grime when they move into a property, the top complaint for 38% of respondents. Meanwhile, one in five tenants named décor issues such as peeling paintwork or a bad colour scheme, as their pet hate. The most detested colour for interior décor was brown, closely followed by avocado green and orange. Even black, in fourth place, was considered less offensive than these colours. It would also seem that the personality of the landlord makes a big difference to how tenants feel about a property. Some 15% of tenants said that an unfriendly landlord would deter them more than anything else. The improvement to their current rental demanded by most tenants was better energy efficiency through insulation, newer boilers, double glazing, green technologies etc. This concern is unsurprising given government estimates that one in five tenants live in fuel poverty. Tenants are not the only ones concerned about poor energy arrangements in rental properties: the government is also looking to introduce new energy legislation for landlords. For instance, by April 2016, landlords will be obliged to introduce any ‘reasonable’ energy efficiency measure like insulation, double-glazing, etc, that a tenant requests. Meanwhile, by 2018, it will be an offence to let a property in the lowest… Continue reading →

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