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Why your landlords should be targeting families and retirees

Posted on 2016-08-02

To the outside world, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is predominantly made up of students and young professionals saving up to purchase their first property.

However, those of us working on the inside are well aware that private tenants span all demographics, occupations and age groups.

The PRS has grown rapidly in the last few years and now accounts for around 19% of 22.5 million households, according to the English Housing Survey (EHS) 2014-15.

In recent times, there's been quite an increase in the number of families and retired people renting, and this is something that if they don't already, landlords need to be aware of.

To demonstrate the point, we've taken a look at some figures which really highlight the trends of family sharers and retired private tenants.

Family tenants

As more people choose to rent rather than purchasing a property, the number of families renting from private landlords has steadily increased.

In fact, the National Landlords Association (NLA) recently revealed that families are now the most common household type in the PRS.

This is the first time the NLA's quarterly landlord panel has placed families at the top of the pile.

Some 48% of 1,000 landlords surveyed said they now let to families, overtaking young couples.

Back in 2012, the NLA's figures showed young singles as the most rented to demographic, followed by young couples and then families.

The rise of the family really has been a recent phenomenon, then. One reason for this could be that the young couples and professionals who represented such a high proportion of renters a few years ago may now have started their own families, therefore contributing to the increase in the proportion of family tenants.

The NLA's research is reinforced by the latest EHS, which found that the proportion of private rented households with dependent children increased from 30% per cent in 2004-05 to 37% in 2014-15.

What's more, our March HomeLet Rental Index revealed that the number of new tenancies signed by three or more tenants increased from 5% to 15% between 2008 and 2015.

The NLA also spoke to around 1,000 families who rent, finding that 76% were happy with the length of their tenancy.

The vast majority of those surveyed (79%) said their tenancy was renewed or stayed the same at the end of the initial fixed term.

Over 75% of those taking part said they considered their rental property to be home, while 65% said their landlord allowed them to personalise the property however they chose.

Retired renters

As well as families, there's also been a surge in the number of retired people turning to the PRS.

The NLA recently reported that the proportion of private renters is now significantly higher than it was in 2012.

According to its Quarterly Tenant Panel, which surveyed almost 1,000 renters, the proportion of tenants who're retired has increased by 2% in the past four years.

The organisation calculates that during this period approximately 220,000 retired tenants have entered the PRS.

The highest proportion of retired renters was found in the South East, at 17%.

This was followed by the South West and North West, both at 15%.

In London, just 3% of the tenants surveyed by the NLA were retired.

Meanwhile, the lowest proportion of retired renters was recorded in Northern Ireland at just 1% of the rental population.

Do your landlords know this?

As a letting agent you may already be aware of this shift towards retired and family rental households, but are your landlords?

A lot of landlords, particularly those just starting out, may not have thought about the possibility of opening up their property to these demographics.

Their rental property – and its location – may in fact be more suited to a family or perhaps a retired couple than a group of students or young professionals.

If a landlord targets their property more effectively, this could help them to find tenants quicker and more easily.

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