The London estate agent says the rental market is really busy. Properties are going in hours. As a tenant you think, a normal ‘pushy’ agent call. Yet this a big decision, which you need to think about, yet you don’t have the time too. Offer or lose out. These are unfortunately the challenges you face when looking to rent in the UK with or without a dog or a cat.
In fact, going to ‘sealed bids’ or ‘best and finals’ as they are known amongst UK estate agents, is simply that. Put your best offer forward. State the starting date, special conditions, including furnished or unfurnished, your salaries, any pets and add a pet cv with references as well as your best price. Don’t hold back. There is no second round. Once agreed that is it. Otherwise, nothing would ever be agreed with people complaining they did not realise. We have heard it all.
At Pets Lets, we recently had a client with 2 dogs, a cat and a hedgehog. We won the sealed bid for the client. One of the other parties complained that they could have bid more. The agent pointed out that it is a best and final. No second chances. Anyway, the landlord loved the client’s pet cv!
An interesting article from Zoopla highlights the issue of rising rents and refers to Three figure rent rises in the past year. Prices are pushed up Either by Landlords knowing they can achieve better returns or estate agents inflating prices, sometimes too much, to get the instruction. This last point relates to UK rentals and sales.
Rental searches like a full-time job
In the London rental market, properties come and go all the time. Unless you constantly contact estate agents, they forget. Just because you spoke to them last week, does not mean they will call you when the ideal property is about to come on the market. Never assume. Always be on the case and be ready to view at a moment’s notice. If you don’t someone else will make the time and secure it.
That evening you have to see an important client. Your mobile rings and it is an agent to say a property has just or is about to come on the road you desperately want to be on for the school catchment area. What do you do? A work commitment is important. You can’t just change a meeting to see a property. In a normal market just see it the next day. In today’s climate, the best properties are let by the morning.
Bearing in mind a tenant now pays 34.4% of the average income as a single earner, that is a large proportion of one’s salary. That is even before utility bills and everyday living. With the cost-of-living crisis, that is a ‘big squeeze’ on any household.
You don’t need an estate agent to tell you how busy the UK rental market is. When you see a property, it is normally one viewing after another or an ‘open house’, where everyone sees the property within a 1-2 hour time frame. This is either at the end of a day or on a Saturday.
I spoke to an experienced agent I know the other day. He has been in lettings for 17 years and he described the current market as the ‘craziest’ he has seen. If you can’t see it today, it will be gone or there will be ‘offers on the table’.
We sometimes find it takes a person to lose out on a property before they understand the need to move quickly. When you do a tour of properties, it is better to save the best for last. With this market, just get through the door as early as possible. However, putting a property tour together in advance is futile. You just don’t know how many properties will be available on the day.
Rents reach record highs
This article from the Guardian outlines the record high rents people are facing in the UK. For landlords it is a business. Nothing personal, just making the most of an increasing market to maximise yields. For some private landlords it is their pensions. Accept an increase in rent or face being given a notice period. With any property market it is all about supply versus demand
As it is a landlords market, some estate agents have no need other than to be reactive. Yes, agents answer calls, but there is no need to pick up the phone and work to find a tenant. No need as you receive regular emails and calls. Many years back before setting up Pets Lets, I was a London estate agent. In a difficult market you learnt to find a buyer or a tenant for a property. You learnt to be proactive. That is the difference with many agents today. They have not learnt to be proactive. I have a heard a few times; “I won’t take your details as we already have a lot of interest in that property.”
Dwindling number of private landlords
The number of rental properties is low. Why is that and what has changed over the years?
There used to be many people investing in buy to let properties. It was all about London and UK property and the potential capital growth. Yields were high so UK property was an attractive proportion to global investors.
Buyers used to buy floors of properties and people were queuing up to buy into special new developments. I recall the demand for The BBC Television Centre Development and the rush to acquire units before they sold, mostly to investors.
The UK Government phased out the ability to offset mortgage payment against tax and by April 2020,those landlords who had heavily borrowed were making a loss.
That with other changes in letting rules and regulations, including additional stamp duty tax on second homes, made the buy to let market unattractive. People decided to sell and still are. Sometimes when extensive renovations are needed for a property or service charges are just too high, an owner would rather sell. Less hassle and sell while you can. Another rental property off the market.
The fear is that corporate landlords will outweigh private landlords which is bad news for tenants as it will be even more run like a business. At least with some private landlords, they have rented out their old homes, so they care that bit more about the upkeep of the property. It they love pets, they are more likely to be pet friendly rentals.
As this article in Letting Agent Today shows, people are being put off investing in property. Hence the lack of stock.
Sadly you are at a disadvantage renting with a dog or cat
The truth is, unless you are a pet loving landlord, you would prefer not to rent to people with a dog or cat.
Allow for time. Sometimes it can take longer than you think to find the right rental with or without a pet.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a UK pet friendly property portal offering properties where landlords consider pets as well as a pet friendly relocation and buying service.
Prior to setting up Pets Lets, Russell was a London property search consultant for over 20 years for clients looking to buy and rent in the Capital.
Click here to see useful pet cv’s and pets clauses, as well as other pet friendly rental tools on the Pets Lets Portal.
For useful advice or to find out more about the UK pet friendly rental market, feel free to join our Pets and Property Tips Facebook Group for helpful professional advice on pets and