Tenants make some tough life choices, but many prefer the flexibility of renting

publication date: Oct 30, 2012
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Tenants make some tough life choices, but many prefer the flexibility of renting

According to a new survey from Spareroom, "couples are struggling to be able to afford to rent on their own". 

Although renting a room in a house can help to keep costs of living down, it does make it more difficult for couples to move on with their life and even holds them back from getting married and having children. The survey reports "44% of couples say their housing situation is affecting their aspirations to settle down and start families" which Spareroom concludes "it seems clear that the housing crisis is making people feel trapped by their circumstances, and having a long term impact on their life-choices."

However, although renting has its drawbacks, during the credit crunch it is allowing people to have a more flexible lifestyle. Although many report that people rent because they can't afford to buy, ARLA's survey suggests that new tenants are not just first time buyers who can't get a mortgage. Increasingly, people are looking to rent rather than buy as it gives them an easier lifestyle rather than committing to owning a home and all the trappings that go with it.

Spareroom has been busy with surveys recently, and in addition to finding couples having their lives held back while renting a room, not all tenants are keen on long term rents, being pushed up the policy agenda via organisations such as Shelter. In fact, around 82% rejected the idea. These were typically young professionals who rent because they want the flexibility. Of course, for families who have little choice, being secure in a long term tenancy is likely to be much needed to support.

In addition, not only do not all tenants want long term contracts, landlords who wish to increase tenancy lengths, may not be able to do so as their mortgage agreement often restricts them to a six month tenancy agreement or break clause.

With the property market, it's important to be aware that there are horses for courses. Some tenants rent because they want the flexibility of a place to stay in the short term. Some want long term leases and for some, renting a room is a great idea, for others tougher when what they really want is to settle down.

It is important to try and make sure as a tenant and landlord you look to match the time you want to stay in a home. For landlords who are renting their home, it may just be a six month contract is perfect, for investor landlords looking for long term renters and offering them benefits to remain in the home for years, then it's worth seeking a good tenant match.

So when renting, it's not all about the price and cost of utilities, bear in mind as tenants and landlords are likely to partner for up to two years on average, make sure the type of rent is a good fit for both of you.

For more help, sign up to Property Checklists and download our free Tenant checklist. Or, if you want to ask us a question, email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or via our Forum.

If you have never rented before, consider purchasing our Tenant Service, for just £14.99 which includes a comprehensive A4 ‘how to' guide, containing Dos and Don'ts, Factsheets, Checklists, Handy Tips and Forms, PLUS access to Kate and her team, by phone and email, for any queries you might have during your rent.


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