New study reveals the shifting priorities of London's tenants

Property Reporter
25th November 2020
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A new study of over 2,000 tenants across the capital has revealed that the ongoing pandemic has altered how they feel about where they live and how affordable it is.

Against the dramatic backdrop of the pandemic, the Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward Annual Tenant Barometer was an opportune time to ask tenants about shifting priorities. While there are new themes running through tenants’ wish lists, the overriding factor of affordability is now more important than ever.

Tenant wants and needs

Despite all of the economic uncertainty the pandemic has created, there is a high demand for longer leases, and KFH data shows that the average lease length sits at 22 months. 38% of tenants surveyed prefer leases of 18 months or more, with over third seeking leases of three years or more.

Alongside affordability, there has been a shift in other tenant preferences this year. As more people are spending time at home, 58% of all tenants believe that access to private outdoor space is paramount. In terms of working from home, optimal broadband speed is a key factor for 48% of tenants, whilst a dedicated space to work is important for 44% of tenants surveyed.

Carol Pawsey, Group Lettings Director at KFH, said: “The pandemic has not only changed how and where we live but also how and where we work. Tenants want to feel under less financial pressure, and the rental market gives them more flexibility to adjust their living space and environment to suit their different needs.”

A trend towards less urban living

Many tenants are also rethinking their commute times, and this is a considerable factor for 51% of respondents. As a result, tenants are happy to keep their options open when looking for a rental property. 44% of tenants living in Zones 1 and 2 would consider moving to Zone 3, while 46% of tenants in Zone 3 are open to moving to Zone 6 and beyond.

Paul Masters, Group Operations Director at KFH, said: “It is too early to tell if tenants will trade-off commute times against the internal and external space advantages of living slightly further out long term, but tenant sentiment is likely to keep shifting as we move through the next few months.

“Build to Rent (BTR) schemes are often situated away from central London in the outer zones, so an increase in demand will be good news for landlords and BTR operators, and will help shape leasing strategies to optimise this.”

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