Renting Bidding Wars

As competition increases, landlords are seeing bidding wars over renting properties.

Would-be tenants looking for a property to rent are sending landlords friendly selfies and sob stories about their pets to try and secure a home.

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Competition over rental properties is sparking ferocious bidding wars as:

  • Rent has increased by up to 14% over the last 12 months, as people flood back to cities
  • Landlords are now spoilt for choice meaning competition is fierce
  • People have resorted to sending landlords personal stories and CVs to try and secure a home. 

Last week, the PM announced the return of Right-to-Buy, allowing low-paid workers to use income from benefits to buy a council house. But the PM’s critics say more needs to be done to help young professionals get on the property ladder, as single people find it harder and turn to friends to afford a shared mortgage. 

In the meantime, rental figures show that there are three prospective tenants for each available property, with bidding wars taking place and prospective renters trying to find ways to stand out for the competition. 

Inventive tenant CVs

UNCLE, which manages serviced rental apartments in London, said it has 1,982 tenants on its waiting list:

  • The national average rent outside of London is £1,088 per month, up from £982 last year 
  • In the capital, it is £2,193 per month, a year-on-year rise of 14.3%
  • Rents rocketed by up to 14 % in the last year as people flooded back to cities post lockdown

To beat the competition, people are becoming more creative with their rental CVs, adding photos of themselves enjoying wholesome hobbies.

Richard Davies, Head of Lettings at London-based estate agent Chestertons, said:

For some landlords it’s not always about the money, it’s about the calibre of tenant. And tenants are doing all they can to try and secure a property. You typically get CVs showing a happy family or a couple with an adorable cat, as if to say, ‘Please take us, feel sorry for us’.

Around 10% of prospective tenants send a ‘smiley and happy’ photo CV, and it has become popular to mention a love of cooking or baking, according to Mr Davies. He added that people are sharing more details about themselves – hoping to pull at heartstrings by sharing pictures of their rescue mongrel, rather than an expensive pedigree.

James Hathaway, director of Winkworth estate agents in Reading, pointed out that every landlord now has the choice of tenants so unfortunately, they can afford to be picky:

People often send CVs with a picture of their dog, its life story and comments from a previous landlord, but for most landlords it still doesn’t wash as they’ve got two other customers without any animals.

Stamp duty holiday could be partly to blame for shortage of rentals 

Tom Bill, Head of Residential Research at estate agency Knight Frank, says that the stamp duty holiday has encouraged landlords to sell and is ‘in part’ to blame for the shortage of rental properties.

Many in the industry believe the dire state of the lettings market should be a priority for Boris Johnson as so many rely on rental properties for their homes.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: 

While the government is wasting time on an expensive, nonsense bid to extend Right-to-Buy, our services are picking up the phone to families who cannot find anywhere they can afford to rent.

Business manager Charlotte, 24, and her partner are professionals earning good money, but they have struggled to find anywhere to rent in their preferred area of Battersea in south London. They ended up offering £150 over the asking price in order to rent a property in Shoreditch, East London. Charlotte said: 

My partner and I both earn £50,000 in new graduate jobs, but the landlord said there were people with better salaries and sturdier jobs than us.

It’s important that landlords do their due diligence when it comes to letting their property. While it’s interesting to know more about your tenants from these creative CVs, it’s no replacement for thorough tenant referencing, which you should secure before taking on a tenant. 

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