Friday, 29 January 2016

What does the Aylesbury tenant look like?

What does the Aylesbury tenant look like?” asked one of my landlords from Lower Hartwell yesterday. He carried on before I could reply, “Let me guess, a professional couple, both in their 30’s, flawlessly tidy, pays their rent early, do not complain or fuss, who has no plans to move and cheerfully accepts annual rent rises”!

Before I can answer that question properly, I have always believed all a landlord wants (and expects) of their tenants is that they pay their rent on time and look after the property as if it were their own. In return, the tenant expects the landlord should provide a property that is warm, clean, modern and damp free and resolve any issues (such as repairs) quickly and without fuss. 

Back to the tenants – tenants tend to fall into several groups ... 20 something professionals; young and middle aged families; corporate tenants (i.e. their employer finds their employee a house to live in); students; older singles/couples and housing benefit claimants – and they come with different needs and wants. So choosing who best suits your Aylesbury property – and steering clear of those tenants that do not match your criteria – is a big factor in making property investment a success.

One topic that I am often asked is should a landlord, accept tenants on housing benefit?

It might interest the landlords of Aylesbury that of the 8,096 private rented properties in the local council area, 24.6% of the tenants of those properties are in receipt of some form of housing benefit. (1,993 properties to be exact).

I know many landlords have suffered late rent payments with tenants on benefit, especially since 2008, when local authorities started paying housing benefit to tenants rather than directly to the landlords, but you cannot ignore the fact that housing benefit tenants make up a significant proportion of the Aylesbury rental population. Equally there are non-benefit tenants that pay late. The final choice of accepting any tenants has to be the landlords.

Interestingly, it might surprise some readers of the Aylesbury Property Blog, when we compare Aylesbury to the national picture, Aylesbury’s number of Housing benefit claimants are lower, as nationally a higher proportion of private tenants claim benefit. Nationally, 39.2% of the tenants of the 3,891,467 rental properties in Great Britain claim some form of housing benefit (i.e. 1,526,915 properties).

Now, let us look at the occupations of Aylesbury tenants, which makes even more fascinating reading. Of the 8,096 privately rented properties in the Aylesbury area, 6,827 head tenants (the head tenant being classified as the head of the household) are in employment (the other 1,269 rental property head tenants either being retired, long term sick, students or job seekers).

Splitting those 6,827 head tenants down into their relevant professions, 3,209 of them are Managers, Directors, Senior Officials, Professional or Technical Professions, 544 in Administrative and secretarial occupations, 1,002 in Skilled Trades, 596 in the Caring, Leisure and other service occupations, 393 Sales and Customer Service Occupations, 470 Process, Plant and Machine Operatives and finally, 613 in Elementary Occupations.

The one thing I have always known anecdotally, but until I did my research, never had anything to back it up with, was the high proportion of professionals and skilled trades renting property in Aylesbury.

As a landlord you need to decide what sector of the market you are trying to let to. Most landlords have a preferred tenant type and will buy property to suit their desired tenant.

For example many landlords have come to me over the years wishing to buy a property close to Stoke Mandeville Hospital so they can let to medical staff, however most of these staff are not paid well enough to be able to afford the rent unless they share and many landlords see sharers as problematic.

To discuss your investment needs, what property you should be buying and your ideal tenant please give me a call or pop in to the office when you are passing.

Sleepy husky, a rare sight.