Tenant concerns about the cost of renting and their legal rights are increasingly evident in their online search behavior, indicating the challenges renters have faced over the last half year.
Zero Deposit, a company offering an alternative to traditional tenancy deposits, has delved into Google search trends related to renting, uncovering a significant rise in queries about rental affordability, tenant rights, and eviction notices.
The company’s analysis shows an 81.2% spike in the search term ‘rental affordability’ from April to August 2023, marking the most substantial increase among the terms reviewed. Searches related to tenant legal rights have also risen by 45.2% over the same period, while queries about eviction notices have increased by 13.2%.
Further interest has grown in topics such as rental deposits (up 10.9%) and deposit protection (up 8.8%), with terms like tenancy agreements and rent arrears also witnessing heightened search activity.
Zero Deposit suggests this surge in search activity may be fueled by the discourse surrounding the proposed abolition of Section 21 evictions, a key component of the broader Renters Reform Bill currently progressing through Parliament.
Contrastingly, the interest in searching for rental properties has seen a significant decline of 52.5%, hinting at tenants’ reluctance to incur the costs tied to securing new rentals. This trend aligns with data from HomeLet, which indicates that the average UK rent now sits at £1,283, marking a 9.56% rise over the past year.
Sam Reynolds, CEO of Zero Deposit, reflects on the findings: “Rental market affordability remains the biggest concern for the nation’s tenants and this is evident given the huge increase in search interest seen over the last six months alone.
However, there has also been a notable uplift in interest around tenant rights and evictions. This isn’t unsurprising given the generally low level of understanding of both topics alongside new additions to the Renters Reform Bill, including the proposed abolition of Section 21 evictions.
Deposits and deposit protection have also seen an increase in interest, which further demonstrates how the financial cost of renting plays a major role in the decision-making process of the nation’s renters.
Interestingly far fewer are currently interested in finding a property, indicating that most tenants want to stay put rather than leave. Rents have increased by 9.56% in the last 12 months, so for many, the cost to move is simply prohibitive. This also explains why they want to know where they stand with respect to their current rights.”