Renting – love it or hate it?
There’s a common view that renting is not a choice, but a stop-gap on the journey to home ownership. But is this really the case? Are we a nation that hates to rent or is there another side to the story?
Actually, our previous research showed that tenants are shifting away from aspirations of home ownership, so if buying is not the be-all-and-end-all, is there something more to our nation’s relationship with renting we need to know more about? We’ve continued our research and asked tenants how they feel about renting.
The Love of Renting
Well, the good news for tenants and landlords is that a massive 75% of renters are happy renting. Some of this is a reaction to the financial demands of buying a home, but there’s also a relief in not being responsible when things go wrong. It’s easy to forget the ongoing costs of owning a home – the reality is that maintenance costs rack up. Whether it’s replacing a boiler or fixing a leak, renters are all too happy to pay for the privilege of outsourcing their DIY.
People also like the flexibility that renting gives them, the ability to move around the country and switch home on demand. The cost of moving is limited to a moving van and a cleaner. Conversely, for owner occupiers, the spiralling costs of stamp duty, solicitor fees, and estate agent fees are daunting; Lloyds Bank place the average cost of moving house at more than £12k.
Tenants for Life?
What might come as something of a surprise is that of the happy renters in the UK, a third would choose to rent forever. Gone are the days of renters biding their time on the journey to home ownership; instead, the lure of flexibility and freedom means we’re living in the age of renters.
So who are these renters? Well, Generation Rent might not be the generation you think. 64% of those aged 55 and over want to keep renting for the rest of their lives. Comparatively, around a third of 35-54 year olds are happy to rent forever. There’s a gender gap here – men are more likely to be happy renting forever than women (36% vs 31%).
In terms of geography, Welsh tenants are the happiest to rent for life, at 46%. Londoners are the opposite – a mere 17% would choose to rent forever.
For those tenants who are keen to climb the property ladder, it’s not simply a case of buying as soon as possible either. The average length of time people are prepared to wait to buy is just over four years – men are happy to wait for a little longer (4.6 years), and women a little less (3.8).
For landlords, this change in landscape warrants a change in attitude. Gone are the days of tenants rushing out the door after a year or two – good tenants will stick around, and its worth investing in them rather than paying out estate agent fees or falling into a void period. With the right relationship, you could see renters staying put for years, or, dare we say it, even decades.