It has been well documented that COVID and the ongoing lockdowns are set to change our lives in the short term, but the pandemic may have changed how and where we live in the long term too. Many businesses are dispensing of the traditional offices, the attraction of living in a city is starting to diminish and many tenants have a new set of priorities when looking for a new rental property.
The COVID pandemic is certainly accelerating the modernisation of the rental market and this is becoming especially apparent in city centres. The UK rental industry was already a complex and archaic system pre-COVID-19 and the last year has really highlighted these historical issues increasing concerns for tenants and landlords across the UK. Many rental sectors are going to take a long time to recover even in the post-vaccine new normal that we are all waiting for.
Millions of tenants are working from home and have started to realise they don’t need to be near their offices now or in the near future, students across the UK have moved back home to live with parents and are questioning whether they need to return, and many tenants are concerned about their current employment status and are reluctant to sign new long-term contracts.
The market was already in an early stage of change before the pandemic as proptech solutions offered both tenants and landlords an easier way to rent. Some of these solutions included bespoke build to rent accommodation that offered deposit free renting, flexible contracts and a choice of shared living extras including bars, pools and gyms. These huge complexes will still have a place in the market as offices slowly reopen later this year and city centres start to become busy hubs once more, but the types of tenants and contracts might be very different to what was originally planned when these sites were built.
Many tenants will be seeking a much more flexible solution allowing them to be more transient, similar to the Airbnb model used for holiday lettings. Even when offices reopen many businesses have already committed to allowing staff to work from home at least a few days a week and tenants will need a home that works around this new way of living and they will expect the market to reflect this ‘new normal’. This build to rent sector is set up perfectly to manage these ‘transient’ tenants and is clearly expecting huge demand as it is expecting record growth this year in the UK despite what is happening to the global economy and the UK rental market as a whole.
At Accommodation.co.uk we have developed a tech system that simplifies and automates the letting process whilst giving tenants and landlords control and helping them adapt to the new normal. Our solution manages every part of the complex process from financial data, reference information, property details, inventories and even an automated solution to advertise the property allowing our clients to adapt as the market does.
Flexibility is going to be key for private rental accommodation as well as people chose to live as couples, groups or individually and will want to move seamlessly between new apartments and properties that mirror their changing lives. Hopefully when the dust settles as the vaccine starts allowing more freedom and we start returning back to a more normal world, the rental market will learn from the last 10 months and adapt to ensure that it offers the best solutions for tenants and landlords across the UK.