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LARGEST UK SURVEY OF TENANTS BRANDED “MYTHBUSTER”

LARGEST UK SURVEY OF TENANTS BRANDED “MYTHBUSTER”

Lettingstats, the research arm of Lettingweb, has published the full results of its survey of tenant opinion. The findings challenge preconceptions amongst politicians and housing sector interests. The summary of results is available here.

6,448 private sector tenants in Scotland took part in the survey and the key findings are:

  • over 35% of tenants surveyed had lived in their current home for longer than a year – with 10% living longer than three years
  • over 80% believed their tenancy had been managed quite well or very well by their landlord or letting agent
  • almost 88% of tenants believed they had been treated fairly during their current tenancy
  • over 86% reported that there had been no increase in rent during their tenancy – with over 90% believing the frequency of rent reviews being reasonable in their experience
  • almost 95% had never been asked to leave a tenancy for an unexplained or unreasonable reason
  • tenants are concerned by the lack of supply of properties to let – with only 42% being confident of finding another suitable home if they had to

The overall picture is in stark contrast to moves in Parliament to control “rip off rents” – this largest ever survey of tenants indicates that tenants welcome the flexibility of the private rented sector (PRS), whilst appreciating that the have considerable security of tenure and are generally able to stay as long as they want.

That accords with a long term growth in the Scottish PRS, which has doubled in size over the past decade, with significant increases in the numbers of prospective tenants looking for affordable, high quality property to let.

Lettingstats have also confirmed that rents in Scotland in the PRS have increased by less than the rate of inflation over the past eight years, and significantly less than the increase in rents in the social rented sector over the same period.

Their Autumn report published last month highlighted a cooling in the quarter for rent levels in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Whilst caution should be exercised in any one quarter’s movements, the average rent for a 2-bed property in Glasgow fell from £680 in the previous quarter to £662 in Autumn. The average rent for a 2-bed property in Edinburgh fell over the same period from £826 to £809. Dundee also experienced a cooling over the quarter, with average rent for a 2-bed property dropping markedly from £571 to £545 per month.

Dan Cookson, Head of Research at Lettingweb commented:

“Lettingstats’ survey of tenant opinion has allowed us to compile an informed picture of tenants and their experiences of renting property in Scotland. This is the mythbuster report – as it destroys many preconceptions of the sector.

“The overwhelming picture is that rents are unlikely to rise during leases and that landlords treat their tenants well. The private rented sector can be proud of their ability to supply good property at a price tenants are willing to pay, and increases have been less than inflation for a period of over eight years.

“The stand out figure for me is that only 42% of tenants are confident of finding alternative rented accommodation if they had to. That’s a consequence of limited supply, and more needs to be done to bring greater investment into the sector to meet that demand, and widen confidence that alternatives are available. Our market reports indicate that the time taken to re-let properties at the end of each lease are very short indeed – the market is demanding an expansion of the private rented sector.

“Government needs to respond by creating conditions for increased supply to come forward.”

Malcolm Warrack, Chairman of Letscotland said:

“This is a very significant survey – the largest ever conducted across the UK. As the Scottish Government moves towards legislating for a new type of tenancy agreement for use in the private rented sector, they must listen to the voices of tenants, who are overwhelmingly well served by landlords and letting agents.

“The challenge must be to implement change in a way which increases the supply of rented accommodation reaching the market. Any reforms brought forward must not lead to reductions in supply, which will only lead to rising rents and problems for prospective tenants.”