The London rental market remains challenging and demand can fluctuate at the moment, with some of our London branches reporting stronger demand than others. Our well-trained staff are all working hard to match prospective tenants to rental properties but it is essential for landlords to remain flexible and willing to negotiate, to ensure their property lets as quickly as possible to minimise void periods.
We are also experiencing an increase in the number of applicants failing our rigorous tenant referencing processes. While the number isn’t huge, it is a sign of these difficult times, as tenants look for a new home, perhaps to reduce their accommodation costs, but are unable to pass the necessary checks within the tenancy process. This could be because they have lost their job or because their income has been cut.
Rigorous tenant referencing is essential to minimise the risk of a tenant moving into a property and then being unable to pay the rent which of course, would cost a landlord a significant sum, as well as the stress of going through the eviction process. To avoid this, we use a professional referencing company which employs staff with specialist training from the National Crime Agency in recognising fraudulent applications. We are one of only a small number of letting agents who don’t pass the cost of this onto landlords as we feel it is our duty to ensure that appropriate checks are made on potential tenants to meet our obligations to landlords.
If you would like to find out more about how we reference potential tenants on behalf of our landlords, contact your local Benham & Reeves branch for more information.
The City and East London
Rental properties are letting quite well across the areas covered by our City and East London branches(City, Canary Wharf, Shoreditch, Surrey Quays & Wapping), as long as they are priced accurately in line with local market conditions. Demand has decreased though since Covid restrictions were increased to Tier 2. The rental market is entirely driven by price at the moment. Rents are down by 10% – 15% generally so landlords must be prepared to negotiate with tenants to ensure their property lets as quickly as possible. On a more positive note, there is movement in the market as tenants look to move home locally in order to reduce their accommodation costs and/or trade up to a larger property. Many City professionals will continue to work from home for many months, for at least some of the time, so are looking for more space. Experienced landlords know that the rental market fluctuates and are usually prepared to accept that the priority now is to find a good quality tenant who will pay their rent on time. As a result, most are usually prepared to accept reasonable offers from tenants.
North/North West London
Our Beaufort Park Colindale branch is doing brisk business, with good demand from applicants moving to London to work for tech companies such as Facebook. Enquiries from relocation agents are also rising, mainly working with professionals moving to London from other parts of the UK. We are seeing quite a few students (although of course, not nearly as many as usual) moving here to study at the University of Middlesex, UCL and Kings College – the latter are easily reached by the local Northern Line Tube station next to the property development. There are also quite a few Hong Kong citizens relocating to Beaufort Park under the planned BNO visa scheme. The development is being recommended by influencers on YouTube, who are sharing our area guide video, as well as by Hong Kong citizens already living here. The development’s strong community and excellent facilities are a real draw. The new Fairbank Apartments complete soon and we have some new instructions here already and we expect demand for these to be good. There are of course other property developments in the wider Colindale area with slightly lower rentals but Beaufort Park remains a firm favourite with individuals and young families.
Our branch staff in Hampstead and Highgate are seeing a steady demand from young professionals although rents are lower due to the greater availability of stock. Hampstead in particular, is a popular location with young tech corporates relocating to London and these applicants tend to still have good budgets. Take a look at our video area guide for a flavour of Hampstead life!
Our Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Nine Elms branches have been quite busy but are seeing enquiry levels slow down now. The applicants who are enquiring are usually choosing to move locally either to upgrade to a larger or smarter property or to save money. On the plus side, tenancy renewals are up – usually around 50% of existing tenants renew at the end of their tenancy but this figure is now up to around 70% as people choose to stay in their current rental property and wait and see what happens over the next few months. Enquiries are up for smaller apartments to rent at Nine Elms Point, a Barratt scheme situated opposite the new Northern Line extension. The positioning of the development and its on-site facilities makes it very attractive to professionals who appreciate the zone 1 location and keen rentals.
There is steady demand at our West London branches (Dickens Yard Ealing, Kew Bridge, Imperial Wharf Fulham and Hammersmith), and there are still enquiries coming in from applicants wishing to move home although, with so much choice for tenants, the market is very competitive. Most are looking for a good deal so accurate pricing is essential.
West London remains a favourite with the Japanese community and despite the pandemic, 2020 looks like it will be the best year yet for our dedicated Japan Desk in terms of concluding tenancies. Our growing reputation among Japanese corporates as the ‘go-to’ for rental accommodation is in part, down to our Japanese speaking team, led by Yoshi Tsuji, who go above and beyond to make our Japanese tenants feel welcome.
View all posts by Anita Mehra