Tenants: A customer not a commodity

Cat Armstrong | Dynamo
9th May 2022
Cat Armstrong Dynamo 580

As Dynamo is a customer-facing business as well as a mortgage club, it’s always important to put ourselves in the shoes of clients, brokers and, to a certain degree, our lending and other strategic partners where possible.

The requirements of which vary greatly and herein lies the challenge. This is especially apparent when operating in an increasingly complex BTL sector as an array of economic influences continue to exert pressure on landlord and tenant demands, with lenders reacting to these factors in their own unique way.

As a business, we have to ensure that we keep up with these trends, adapt accordingly and use technology to help successfully simplify the mortgage journey. Part of this journey involves having full and frank conversations with an array of landlords to not only help deliver the right funding solution for them but to also support them when it comes to successfully meeting the needs of their customers – their tenants.

The pandemic has challenged the attitudes of many people when it comes to their homes and their priorities. A while ago I saw a tweet from a male colleague in the mortgage industry who proclaimed that he’d succumbed to the pandemic hat-trick of growing a beard, purchasing a Peloton and getting a puppy. I’m not sure how serious he was but when it comes to pets, they are certainly no laughing matter for many people and especially for tenants when seeking a home.

This was evident in a report from Paragon Bank and the Social Market Foundation entitled – Where next for the private rented sector? – which highlighted how 18% of tenants placed the permission to keep pets in the top three priorities for their rented home. However, despite the high proportion of pet-loving tenants, government statistics show that only 7% of landlords market their properties as being pet friendly.

Unsurprising, the most important consideration for tenants was monthly rental costs, a top-three priority for over half (55%) of those surveyed. This was followed by property size, in terms of the number of bedrooms, as prioritised by 35% of renters. As well as these fundamental facets of housing, the survey highlighted that when thinking about how a home meets their needs, renters value aspects that help to enhance their experience, with outdoor space – alongside permission to own pets – in the list of top three property priorities.

Tenants were also asked what is important about the area in which rented accommodation is located. Being close enough to work was said to be a priority for just under one-in-four renters (38%), closely followed by public transport facilities (37%) and shops (36%).

As outlined in the survey, and in the commentary around this, due to a sustained shortage of rental stock and elevated levels of demand for privately rented homes, the need for affordable housing really does emphasise the importance of continued investment in the private rented sector. Whilst a growing number of landlords are taking into account the ever-changing desires of their tenants, there remains room for improvement. And an effective way to approach this is to move beyond the conventional landlord/tenant relationship and treat tenants as a customer rather than a commodity.

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