Trade body the National Landlords Association (NLA) said landlords have reported a fall in demand from tenants, blaming Brexit and the continuing uncertainty around residency rules for EU nationals and funding for international students.
The NLA said media coverage of the rental business has given the impression that landlords are reluctant to take on EU nationals because Right to Rent regulations mean they have to check whether prospective tenants have the right to live in the UK. Failure to do so carries a fine of £3,000 or up to five years in prison.
However, the trade body has refuted this perception. It said foreign workers and international students have in the past generated the highest rental yields for landlords. A decline in their numbers could damage their rental profits.
Go the extra mile
To stand out from the crowd, some landlords are going the extra mile by providing personal transport to and from the airport so tenants do not have to get taxis. For students, landlords are accompanying to them to the local council tax office to help them obtain student exemption status.
Buying them Christmas gifts and setting up their bills are two other perks being offered by landlords desperate to lure in foreign tenants.
Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, said: “In a buyer’s market, suppliers have no choice but to find ways to make their offering more attractive. Whether it’s offering super-fibre optic broadband, delivering gift baskets at Christmas, or other religious holidays, or offering to manage all bills associated with the property as part of the tenancy agreement, landlords have plenty of options.
“Ultimately, landlords will be most successful when they have an open dialogue with their tenants and keep in regular contact to ensure they know what they need. A happy tenant is far more likely to ask for a longer tenancy, which is what every landlord hopes for.”