Are You Really Renting?
Customer feedback is important for any successful business and while we regularly ask our landlords and tenants what we can do to improve their situation it is often the informal chat which is most revealing. A tenant popping into the office, or chatting with our maintenance crew often leads to a more wide ranging discussion of their situation and circumstances.
One question put to young professionals almost guaranteed to raise a sigh is “How do your parents feel about you renting?” Because it seems the older generation just do not get it. Wrong conclusions include the assumption that the couple cannot afford to get onto the property ladder. A young professional couple will almost certainly be able to afford mortgage repayments on a starter home in developments like Great Park in Newcastle. Other questions concern security of tenure but the couple will be wise enough to realise that so long as they pay the rent and keep their property in decent shape, a landlord will be delighted to form a long term relationship.
Rather than submit to the “Oh dear, you are renting” reaction from older family and friends, young professional couples find themselves offering a vigorous defence of their choice. By renting they can live in a desirable part of town with good transport links. If they are planning a family they can afford two bedrooms with a garden and when the family grows, up-sizing to a three bedroom property is a lot less hassle than climbing back into the property market. Their boiler goes on the blink? Simply call the letting agency’s on-call maintenance team then sit back and wait for the thing to be fixed rather than worry about paying for a repair or replacement. Add to this the joy of avoiding estate agency fees, mortgage broker charges, conveyancing and stamp duty then a compelling case to rent begins to emerge.
Young professionals frequently need to be mobile in order to further their career so if a job opportunity presents itself several hundred miles away, house hunting on the rental market, armed with excellent references can often be completed in a weekend.
These are all hard-nosed, practical reasons offered by young professionals to justify their decision to rent but dig a little deeper and the heart begins to speak. Quite simply, young professionals want to enjoy the best years of their lives. They want exotic holidays before settling down to start a family. They may want a lavish wedding, a sports car or to cut a dash in the fashion stakes and they want to do this with the freedom of youth.
This attitude may result in shaking heads and tuts from an older generation but history tells us that the drive to own rather than rent is a relatively recent phenomenon. Until around 1945 renting was the norm. The post war housing boom and increasing prosperity led to generations of families choosing to buy their home. This phenomenon was ratcheted up in the 70’s and 80’s with home ownership seen as a right rather than a privilege.
As landlords continue to refurbish their properties with new kitchens, bathrooms, energy efficient central heating and landscaped gardens, so the attitude of young professionals will continue to reflect the comfort, flexibility and cost effectiveness of choosing to rent rather than buy. Good news for landlords and tenants, good news for areas wishing to attract young professionals with disposable income.