Think you know the average UK tenant? Think again…

If we asked you to build a profile of the average shared living renter in the UK, what would you come up with?

Millennial, aged between 22 and 37?

Single?

Can’t afford to buy a home?

On a salary that dictates shared living is their only option?

Well, in many cases you’d be right.

But the face of shared living renters in the UK is changing. And here’s how…

Age is just a number

Research conducted by the BBC in 2018 showed that people in their 40s were twice as likely to be renting now as they were 10 years before.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions, meanwhile, showed the number of 35 to 54-year-olds, largely Generation X, renting in the UK had doubled since 2006-07.

Rising house prices, of course, have played their part in pricing out even Generation X from homeownership.

But many in the 45 to 50-year-old age bracket are classed as ‘accidental renters’, according to the BBC research, their situations dictated by death, divorce or debt.

If you’re looking (and marketing) solely to millennials when filling rooms in your HMOs, you could be missing a trick.

One place Generation X renters are likely to hang out is Facebook, so that’s where you should be if you want to attract them to your properties.

And it’s not just the age of renters that’s changing

They’re also a little more demanding in what they expect from shared living properties these days.

And that means they’re also choosy, too. So, standing out from the competition is crucial to get the best tenants in your property.

But what exactly are your potential tenants looking for in 2019?

They want to stay connected

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, connectivity ranks highly on every tenant’s rental property wish list according to a recent study by international law firm CMS.

In fact, super-fast broadband and a solid WiFi connection was the number one factor in rental decisions across the 6,500 renters surveyed by CMS.

So, if you’re not offering broadband as part of the rental package in your HMOs, you should be.

Modern renters are eco-conscious

We should all be trying to reduce our carbon footprint and doing just that, alongside many, many other environmental issues, is firmly on the mind of modern renters.

You can do your bit as a landlord, too – and taking some environmentally-friendly steps will also help both you and your properties stand out to potential tenants.

Chances are you’re renting rooms to professional people and we all know how professional people like a coffee (or two) of a morning.

Disposable coffee shop cups continue to have a huge impact on the environment, though, so consider giving each of your tenants a reusable coffee cup as part of their moving-in pack.

There are other things you can do, too, like:

  • Swapping plastic storage containers for glass in your HMOs
  • Offering your tenants weekly veg box deliveries included in their monthly rent, so they stay away from over-packaged supermarket fare
  • Changing all the lightbulbs in your HMOs for energy-saving bulbs
  • Creating a small herb garden for your tenants to use and look after – again, so they stay away from plastic-packaged supermarket produce

We’re in a subscription society

What comes to mind when you think of subscriptions?

Services like Apple Music, Spotify and Netflix probably, but you can actually subscribe to almost anything these days – from socks and toothpaste to shaving foam, blades and make-up – and many renters do exactly that.

So, why not offer them a Netflix subscription as part of their rent, or even a music subscription service if your property comes with a voice-activated virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant.

You could even be more creative with your subscription offering to tempt your tenants into their tenancy, perhaps offering a six-month chocolate subscription box included in their rent, for example. The changing faces of tenants is happening now and it’s happening fast.