Prospective renters are going above and beyond to win landlords’ affections as stock levels for homes have diminished.
The disappearance of Covid restrictions has sparked a revival for the capital’s rental market, while estate agents report historically low levels of stock.
High demand has seen rents surge past pre-pandemic levels and London landlords are once again in a position to be picky. Data from Chestertons found that the average rent has soared 21 per cent to £751, compared to 2020 when the average cost for renters was £589.
Spurred on by a fierce competition, flat-hunters are getting creative in an attempt to impress landlords.
Pet CVs, Powerpoints with couples’ honeymoon pictures, and exaggerated career backstories are just some of the ways Londoners have been trying to secure new addresses, according to landlords and estate agents.
Renters have been trying to prove their suitability to landlords by sending in AirBnB reviews and “very lengthy biographies about how much they like running and coffees by the river,” according to Richard Davies, head of lettings at Chestertons.
One agent at the London firm reported that a prospective tenant had said he was a barrister working in the City ahead of a viewing – only to admit later that he was actually working as a barista in Costa Canary Wharf.
Renters are also desperate to not part ways with their pets and have sent landlords profiles about how well behaved and calm their animals are.
“I am getting on a bit now so don’t venture very far from home. I am very appearance conscious, keep myself clean, and like cuddles on my own terms,” one cat’s resume reads, with its veterinarian helpfully listed as a reference.
Couples have also made Powerpoint presentations to advertise themselves, featuring images of their culinary pursuits, including truffle carbonara and dulce de leche cake. “We really see ourselves cooking delicious meals in your beautiful kitchen,” one couple cooed.
While some tenants have been making offers above properties’ asking prices, other landlords are making their decisions on a more sentimental basis.
Landlords who are letting out their family home or have an emotional tie to a property will be more fussy about their tenants. “Maybe they want to meet them as well to make sure they’re not gonna trash the property that was once their home and that maybe one day they will move back into,” Davies adds.
“What could also impact [a decision] is if tenants ask for any works, if they don’t like the colour of carpets or want walls repainting,” Davies explains.
When it comes to viewings, tenants must be speedy, with property adverts receiving several enquiries within hours of being posted.
David Gray, lettings manager at Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, tells CityA.M.: “The stock of rental properties available is low and any property we do launch to market receives a huge amount of interest. We would expect to have several back-to-back viewings on the first day, with more than one offer and at least one of those for the full asking price, if not higher.”
One property, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom property in Kew, had 16 viewings in the first week of marketing and was let for its full asking price of £3,500 per month, Gray says.
“Would-be tenants who are not quick off the mark, ready to view on the first day of marketing and pay the full asking price, or close to it, are in danger of missing out,” he adds.
“We are seeing multiple viewings on properties within hours of marketing on portals so landlords can be more choosy on their perceived quality of tenants and their references which is not helping pet owners and students,” Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, adds.
Despite the hot competition for homes, rental properties on busy main roads or far away from stations and other amenities are continuing to be a struggle to let, Leaf adds.
There has been an increase in the number of landlords eyeing reducing their portfolios, according to the National Residential Landlords Association. “That’s a concern as we are seeing the private rented sector shrink for the first time,” Richard Blanco, the NRLA’s London representative tells CityA.M.
With renters flooding back to enjoy the capital post-lockdown, it seems as though competition for homes has no signs of abating anytime soon.