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Tenants now staying longer in rental homes, new research reveals

New research from Zero Deposit reveals that private tenants are now staying in their homes longer than they did a decade ago, reflecting the changing dynamics of the UK rental market.

Rise in average tenancy length
According to Zero Deposit’s analysis, the average tenancy length for private renters has increased to 4.3 years, slightly down from 4.4 years last year but still 12% higher than a decade ago when it was 3.8 years. This figure also surpasses the average of 4.1 years seen over the past ten years, underscoring the role of the private rented sector (PRS) in providing long-term accommodation.

In contrast, homeowners are now spending an average of 9.2 years in their homes, down from the 9.9-year average over the last decade. This represents a 13.9% decrease compared to a decade ago, with homeowners staying put for 1.5 fewer years than in 2012-13.

Increased reliance on rental properties
Zero Deposit CEO Sam Reynolds believes that the high cost of home ownership and the rising expense of renting have contributed to tenants staying longer in their rental properties. “Tenants have grown increasingly reliant on the PRS due to the high cost of home ownership, while renting is increasingly seen as a lifestyle choice,” he explains.

Reynolds also points out that the financial burden of moving deters tenants from frequently changing homes. “With renting itself becoming more expensive, many tenants would rather stay put once they’ve secured a rental property, rather than foot the costs of moving while their original deposit is still being held by their previous letting agent,” he adds.

Role of PRS landlords
The research highlights the crucial role of PRS landlords in providing long-term rental accommodation. While the build-to-rent sector has aimed to offer longer-term tenancies, it is PRS landlords who continue to supply the majority of these homes. “This highlights just how vitally important landlords are when it comes to the rental market ecosystem and why we must encourage investment into the sector, not deter it,” says Reynolds.

Contrary to claims that the rental market is ‘insecure,’ the findings suggest that most landlords prefer long-term tenants, which benefits both parties by providing stability and reducing turnover costs.

Encouraging investment in the rental sector
The latest data from Zero Deposit underscores the importance of the PRS in offering stable, long-term rental options for tenants. As the average tenancy length continues to rise, it is clear that both tenants and landlords benefit from longer stays. To maintain and enhance this stability, it is crucial to encourage investment in the rental sector rather than deter it. This approach will ensure that the PRS can continue to meet the needs of tenants and support the broader housing market in the UK.