Some 80% of prospective tenants in the UK’s private rented sector have been put off renting a property due to a misleading property advert or because of a bad experience when viewing the property.
A new survey of 33,000 tenants has highlighted a difference between what tenants want and what letting agents give them. In addition, there clearly remains a tendency to oversell on the part of letting agents, when, in reality, tenants would prefer realism and honesty, the survey report from online lettings agency Upad says.
It found that tenants are put off by unappealing property photos and they generally find that in adverts the size of properties, particularly the size of bedrooms, were wildly overstated. IN particular they won’t visit a property if the photos are dark and don’t show what the home is really like.
‘I’m really busy and do most of my research online so I only click on those properties that are presented well. Dark photos that make rooms tiny and unappealing are a real turn off,’ said one respondent.
‘I’m not really interested in what the property looks like from the outside, but most adverts seem to have loads of these and to be honest I tend to just skip past these when searching. Show me all of the room inside the house, where I’m actually going to spend my time, instead,’ said another.
One tenant went to view what was described as a ‘very private’ property, only to find it was built in the landlord’s garden and that they wanted to conduct weekly inspections. Tenants also hate when en-suite bathrooms are mentioned in adverts but they turn out to be a bath, toilet, and basin situated actually in a bedroom.
Tenants rate being able to meet the landlord. ‘I want to meet the landlord. Having a face to face experience with the other key person involved in the tenancy is a must so I can get a gut feeling to how good and responsive a landlord they are going to be,’ one explained.
Examples of other things that put off tenants is seeing a property advertised in the headline as a family home and then further down in the details it says ‘no children’. Rooms described as double bedrooms that don’t actuall have room for a double bed also puts off prospective tenants.
‘These results show that not only are there still elements of overbearing and downright misleading salesmanship going on in the private rental market, but that tenants still aren’t buying it,’ said Upad chief executive officer James Davis.
‘It’s quite frightening that there are 20% of tenants who still move into a property having had an experience such as this, as they may feel they have no choice but to choose from the best of a bad bunch,’ he pointed out.
‘Even just doing the basics and catering to what tenants are looking for, could make a huge difference. As landlords, tenants are our customers after all. Any other business that doesn’t work to meet its customers’ needs will fail, and being a landlord is no different,’ he explained.
‘While there are large numbers of letting agents and landlords out there who do an exceptional job, I’d encourage anyone involved in renting out properties to consider their approach. By trying to oversell, all letting agents and landlords are doing is keeping properties empty for longer,’ he added.