As a leading build-to-rent provider focused on family housing in the UK, Simple Life has recently undertaken a market-wide research project which reveals the nation’s behaviours and attitudes around renting.
The Rental Experience: Setting the Standard, is based on in-depth qualitative and quantitative data collection concluding with a survey of more than 2,000 renters. The research reveals everything from who the modern-day renter is, to what barriers they feel they face as renters, their reasons for renting and their experiences whilst renting.
At present, Simple Life manage nearly 2,000 homes across the UK, with an additional pipeline of over 3,000 across the country for the next twelve months.
Rob Sumner, residential investment director at Simple Life, said: “As leaders in the market, we wanted to take a proactive approach to find out more about renters in the UK and what the rental landscape looks like.
“As much as we can make assumptions about what we think people might want, we felt it was critical to collect hard data from real renters, which would allow us to better understand their wants and needs which in turn would help inform our strategy and delivery. At our current scale and with increasing pace of delivery it made sense to embark on this project which has revealed some really interesting findings which will shape our thought processes into the future.
“Renting can sometimes be perceived negatively, with the media focusing on rogue landlords and the assumption that people view renting as a short-term option prior to the longer term aspiration of buying a house.
“Our survey found that in fact, many people are happy or very happy with the property that they rent, with a high proportion of people stating that they are willing to sign into long-term rental deals. The very fact that on the whole renters are happy yet this negative representation of renting is highlighted, means that unfortunately there are some deeply held and, in our opinion, unjustly unfavourable stigmas attached to renting, born out of history rather than the present day. As an industry if we can start to change that perception, it could unlock a huge amount of potential.”
The survey found that although some see renting as ‘dead’ money, many of the benefits of renting were revealed to be important to renters, such as the freedom, flexibility, a greater choice of living environments or allowing them to live in a better area or larger property than would be achievable if they were looking to buy.
Renters were also revealed to be older and more affluent than perhaps would be expected, with those aged 35-44 making up the largest group of renters within this group. It was interesting to find that whilst members were part of the largest cohort in the sector, they perceived themselves to be a minority, expecting that most in the sector would be much younger as most of the marketing push is towards that end of the age spectrum.
Another surprising statistic, was that the average time that the private renter has been in the sector is seven years, showing that far from it being a transient market, for many renting is a long-term solution. Something that Simple Life has championed from the outset, aiming to create those Forever Homes that people crave.
Lauren Elliott, Trinity McQueen, led the research on behalf of Simple Life. Lauren says: “Something that struck us quite early on in the research was the vast difference in experiences people have whilst renting. It became very noticeable that there is a lack of standardisation within the rental market place, so renters can feel on the back foot – and not in control. From tenancy to tenancy, they never know what to expect with regards to what they can and can’t do, what is tenant or landlord responsibility, how fees and rental increases work and the degree of customer service they can expect. Build-to-rent providers can really now start to set the standard which will inevitably start to reduce the grey areas of renting, making it even more attractive.”
Rob summarises: “The market is maturing and it’s possible that people will start to see renting as a more aspirational choice. With renters increasingly seeking a relationship with a brand, landlords will soon be competing for tenants, which is why we need to ensure that the service we provide is first class.”
Simple Life continually strives to set a new standard of renting, and this research as well as the ongoing and well-received feedback from existing residents and those looking to move in to a Simple Life home, is another step and meeting and exceeding the expectation renters have of their landlord and their homes.