Traditionally, one reason why many people prefer to rent rather than to buy is not just because of the cost ñ itís the flexibility. Tenants often donít want to commit to being in one place for too long ñ they may get a job in another location, find new friends, want to travel ñ several different reasons can apply.
However, recent reports suggest that tenants may increasingly be realising that it would be better to stay put after all, given how difficult it is now becoming to find the right place to rent.
Research has found that there are now on average five prospective tenants for every vacant flat or room ñ demand that has led to an estimated 40%+ of landlords raising their rent by as much as 4% on an annual basis.
In London the situation is even more of a minefield for those people searching for rented accommodation, with just under nine people hunting for each vacancy.
Some popular commuter belt towns are facing huge demand too, with Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Luton next in line with over seven potential renters per room available. The only town north of Milton Keynes to feature in the top ten towns for rental demand is York, with just under six people per room.
This huge demand results in more and more tenants being likely to sign longer initial contracts and stay in their existing rental property for longer ñ especially as so many potential buyers remain unable to consider purchasing a property in the current financial climate.
So what can you do? Here are some top tips for trying to fight the Tenancy Traffic Jam.
- Try to make sure youíre first in the queue when something you want becomes available ñ get alerts to your mobile, to your email.
- Reserve a full day specifically when you can devote yourself to nothing but fishing and finding ñ you wonít want any distractions.
- Put on your most charming and charismatic face ñ all landlords want to let their rooms to the right person, and with demand at such a high you may need to stand out in a positive way.
- Try not to get too attached to a propertyís description before youíve seen it ñ it may only disappoint you if you donít get it. You may have to be flexible.
- Itís best to be decisive. If you see something and it fits the bill ñ go for it before someone else can snap it up.
Also, make sure your finances are in good order by checking your credit report.
With so many people competing for each flat, a good credit history could be the key to convincing a landlord that youíre the tenant they want.
While landlords canít see your full credit report, many will get your permission to check whether you have any court judgments or insolvencies.
Your credit report lists your credit accounts, such as loans, cards and interest free deals, along with your repayment history. If anything looks wrong, you can put it right by taking it up with the relevant lender. Itís free to see your Experian credit report with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert and you can order your Experian Credit Score while youíre at it.