The rental sector has already waited years for the Renters’ (Reform) Bill to make it into law and is seems that the Bill is finally working its way through Parliament.
The Bill has already sent shockwaves through the private rented sector, pushing landlords to sell up and exit the market in the face of the increased legislation – most notably the abolition of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.
Identity is one example of the impact of technology in the sector. It is now a key performance item for accommodation providers and tenants. The identity verification process has evolved rapidly and is now being used to enable swifter access to properties, as part of more streamlined moving in processes.
External factors, of course, are also at play. Hamptons reports that rents outside of London have hit a monthly average of £1,000 for the first time. Meanwhile, many accommodation providers are reporting that rent defaults are on the rise.
When it comes to defaults, there are two ways that the situation could go. One is that accommodation providers will push rents higher in order to ensure they cover any losses from defaults. The other is that providers will establish a more stringent acceptance process for tenants.
For student renters, higher prices and tougher access processes for rental accommodation are not the only issue. Many are concerned about being able to find suitable accommodation that is sufficiently close to their university, given the mass exodus of private landlords from the market over the past couple of years. This is resulting in an increasing number of students seeking ways to try and get ahead when it comes to the rental process.
The team at UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has seen this first-hand, with students – as well as many working professionals – increasingly seeking rent guarantors. This has led to a rapid acceleration in the growth of Housing Hand’s rental guarantor service during the first four months of 2023. During that time, the number of accepted applicants has risen by 48%, with many already looking ahead to the new academic year.
Graham Hayward, Chief Operating Officer, Housing Hand said, “While the Bill has slowly made its way to its first reading – a process that has taken four years since the Government first announced a ‘new deal for renting’ time certainly hasn’t stood still within the rental sector.
“Landlords have left in advance of the Bill’s passing, while the growing adoption of new technology means that things are moving swiftly so far as renters, landlords and letting agents are concerned.”
Hayward added, “We are experiencing strong, sustained demand for rental guarantor services, across accommodation markets up and down the UK.
“The rental landscape has changed significantly over the past few years and continues to do so. While the Purpose Built Student Accommodation and Build to Rent sectors have grown, the private rented sector is shrinking significantly. We have already seen the draft Renters’ (Reform) Bill have an impact on the number of people willing to act as private landlords, long before the Bill finally made it to its first reading in Parliament.”