Landlords, DIY Renting, Generation Rent

Our 'rental happiness' survey reveals renters and landlords would be happier cutting out the middleman


Typically surveys that rank quality of life or happiness do so between different nation states or socio-demographic groups but we commissioned a survey to look at the levels of happiness within different camps in the UK’s private rental sector…

Startlingly, the survey points up a gulf in difference in happiness between those renting property as tenants and those property letting out homes as landlords.

Whereas almost all of landlords (88%) are happy being landlords, by comparison, and perhaps understandably when you consider the impact on monthly incomes to rent, nearly one in every two tenants (45%) would class themselves as being unhappy renting.

Going direct

HomeRenter’s mission is to deliver a fairer, happier renting experience for all parties by connecting private landlords and tenants via an online marketplace, in the vein of Air BnB, which cuts out the need for a conventional agent.

This strategy is endorsed by the learning that 7 in 10 tenants said they would be happier renting direct from a landlord (or property owner) rather than via a traditional lettings agent.

Digging a little deeper into the contrasting worlds of the UK private renting sector, the survey reveals the following top complaints from each group...

For renters the top five gripes, which make them feel most unhappy about renting, comprise:

1/ the general cost of renting (49%)
2/ unreasonable letting admin fees (42%)
3/ having to chase for repairs and maintenance (41%)
4/ the need to pay out for pricey security deposits (36%)
5/ the perceived poor service experienced from lettings agents (33%)

Whilst landlords, as one might expect, are far more content with their lot, the HomeRenter survey revealed that, as a group, landlords aren’t immune from their own frustrations. For landlords the top factors that make them least happy about letting property are:

1/ perceived high fees & poor service provided by letting agencies (52%)
2/ the need to deal with ‘bad’ tenants (50%)
3/ the need to manage running repairs and maintenance (42%)
4/ new tax rules and regulations (37%)
5/ general admin headaches (32%)

A happier rental world for all?

In terms of what would make for an all-round happier rental experience, it’s clear that a dissatisfaction with lettings agents and a desire to connect privately is a strongly shared concerns for both current renters and landlords, as by far the majority of landlords (87%) claim they would be happier renting direct to their tenants than via a traditional lettings agent.

Clearly, both tenants and landlords are looking for more transparency and accountability in the lettings process as 4 in 5 (81%) tenants said they would welcome the chance to rate and review their landlord and rental home on an AirBnb / Tripadvisor style platform (which HomeRenter will offer), whilst 9 in 10 (88%) landlords said they would welcome a chance to rate and review their tenants.

Lastly, 9 in 10 (92%) landlords said that if they could entrust tenant viewings to a trusted key-holder at a fraction of the price of a lettings agency, they would do so happily. This presumably plays into one of the lesser but significant landlord frustrations which is around inconvenient or no show tenant viewings (in sixth place at 17%) which is clearly a bug-bear for DIY landlords.

Discover more about happier renting at HomeRenter

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About Will Handley

Private landlord and prop tech founder writing about all things property, lettings and start-up.
  • London