NAPB Letting Report 2022

The NAPB has commissioned research in to the private rented sector (PRS) to help property professionals, organisations and individuals to understand the situation currently faced by landlords and tenants.

In the press, much is made of the Housing Crisis, inextricably linked as it is to the Cost of Loving Crisis. Debate, especially on social media has become increasingly polarised. Landlords are often seen as greedy, increasing rents, not maintaining property and raking in fortunes thanks to capital growth. Tenants are portrayed either as hard-done-by victims or as unambitious and demanding of their landlord, reporting every trivial issue they can think of.

Letting agents receive a similar negative press, responsible it seems for increasing rents, neglecting client’s properties and only acting in their own best interests.

Yet analysis of the data shows a somewhat different picture. 84% of private tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, an increase of 1% on the previous year. Whilst that still leaves 16% dissatisfied, how many owner-occupiers feel completely satisfied with their property? If everyone was, we wouldn’t see the volume of house moves to get to a more convenient area, to get a larger garden or kitchen or to increase the number of bedrooms.

The NAPB, a non-profit property buyer’s organisation often sees a crossover from sales to rentals as member firms choose to retain and let property rather than sell it and as sellers choose to relocate to rent rather than buy again immediately. The private rental sector allows for this. It gives flexibility to owners who may, for whatever reason choose not to sell a property at that moment, it provides flexible accommodation for those who either choose not to buy, or are unable to do so.

But the sector is far from perfect. Rents have increased adding to the burden already faced by tenants due to the Cost of Living Crisis. Too many homes aren’t maintained to a high enough standard. Tenants still feel vulnerable to the whims of their landlord – just 57% of tenants feel their property is their ‘home’. Many landlords also feel that they are put upon. Tax changes, regulation and an increasingly hostile public opinion toward them has made the idea of renting out a property less and less attractive. The increase in prices and rents has no doubt stopped many from simply leaving the sector. A shocking 22% of landlords have reported feeling stress-induced mental health issues.

The property market in all countries is complex, in the UK more so. The British obsession with property is well known and the difficulties faced are harder to solve. When the government intervene there are more often than not dramatic and unforeseen consequences. The Covid SDLT relief added fuel to the raging property market, landlord tax changes meant many small landlords quit the sector, and eliminating tenant application fees for movers helped to push up rents for everyone. But left alone, the market may not right itself, or at least not in a timescale to help the millions struggling to afford or even find a suitable place to call home.

One thing is for sure, the current situation is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

It is the aim of The NAPB to make letting research data convenient and freely available to access for everybody. To view this report in full please click here

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande (MNAEA MICBA MARLA) began in the property business in the late 1980’s and is a Director of House Buy Fast and helped to found The National Association of Property Buyers in 2013. He has worked closely with The Property Ombudsman to develop a Code of Practice for Residential Property Buying Companies.