How’s lockdown been for you?

For most, it’s been a hugely difficult and worrying time, but it’s also been a time of reflection for many – not least renters.

It seems many tenants across the UK have been rethinking what they want from their rental properties, according to a survey by property portal Rightmove.

For landlords, that provides both an opportunity and a need for reflection of their own.

According to Rightmove, a huge 49% of UK renters have changed their minds on the most important aspects of a property since we entered coronavirus lockdown at the end of March.

Here are the headlines

  • 59% of renters now say a garden is their biggest priority
  • 26% want a better home workspace
  • Just 13% now want to live closer to work
  • So, what does this mean for landlords?

If you’re a landlord operating Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), now is the time to start thinking about what your property, or properties, are offering tenants and if those things fit with their evolving demands.

And if you’re thinking of investing in an HMO property, you should consider these revised tenant wish-lists when looking at properties to buy.

Is your garden going to meet expectations?

Is your garden actually usable and is it somewhere your housemates would want to sit to read a book, do exercise or do some gardening themselves?

The Rightmove survey revealed 89% of people plan to continue with lockdown exercise outdoors despite the government’s coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

On top of that, 82% of those surveyed said that want to continue reading and gardening after doing more of both during the UK’s lockdown period.

If your HMO property’s garden is in need of a makeover, now’s the time to do it with all that increasing demand from tenants.

Not only that, providing a haven of outdoor space rather than simply a functional garden could help your property stand out from the crowd, too.

Finally, if you’re marketing your rooms online, make sure you include a good quality image of your property’s garden space.

Many landlords prefer to focus on communal areas like kitchens and the rooms themselves, but with tenants craving outdoor space, now’s the time to market your garden as well as your rooms.

The home is the new office

Just under half (49%) of those surveyed by Rightmove said they were currently working from home.

And of those, 21% said they’d like that arrangement to continue permanently.

Who’d bet against it?

With companies looking to trim costs and overheads in the wake of coronavirus, many more office-based workers could find themselves being asked to work at home – both for health and safety reasons and so their employers can cut some fat from the corporate bone.

Good transport links have always, traditionally, been a real ‘must-have’ for HMO tenants in towns and cities.

After all, nobody likes a long and painful commute to work every morning.

But, according to the Rightmove data, commuter links are becoming less important for tenants post-coronavirus, with good internet access and a spare room now more in demand.

For HMO landlords, this presents an opportunity to provide housemates with excellent home-working set-ups and super-fast WiFi included in their rent if they’re not doing so already.

A great example of the work set-up in a Platinum HMO can be seen above this very blog post.

A sense of community

One major impact the coronavirus lockdown had on all of us was not being able to see people outside of our own households.

They say you don’t miss something until it’s gone and that seems to be the case with our need to be around other people.

In the Rightmove survey, 57% said they felt there was a stronger sense of community in the area they live in than there was before lockdown.

Again, this is an opportunity for HMO landlords to present the benefits of shared living and the sense of community it provides to potential housemates.

Mental health and lockdown do not go together for a sustained period of time, while it’s fair to say the more connected we’ve become online, the greater the disconnect we have with each other in reality.

Living alone can feel like lockdown for many tenants in normal times, let alone now.

Landlords with HMO rooms to fill should absolutely be selling the mental health benefits of shared living when marketing their rooms post coronavirus.

If you’re looking to invest in HMO property and meet some of this increasing tenant demand, sign up for one of our virtual Discovery Days, where we’ll outline all the benefits of doing so with Platinum as a partner.