Tenants in UK stay for an average of almost two years, new research shows

The average length of private sector rental tenancies across the UK are now almost two years, with tenants staying longest in London, and the shortest in the South West of England, new research shows.

In London the average tenancy length is 20 months, up 18% from 2014, whilst the commuter belt sees the longest tenancy length in the whole of the UK at 44 months while renters in the South West of England stay on average just 15 months.

The data from the Your Move report also shows that tenants in Scotland and Northern Ireland rent on average for 17 and 18 months respectively.

Separate research from Your Move’s Corporate Client Department (CCD) of its parent company, LSL Property Services plc, reveals that 25% of all UK households are predicted to be occupied by private renters by 2025.

Outside of London, across the South East and commuter belt, rental contracts are decidedly longer than in the capital. The Kent town of Sevenoaks has the longest tenancy lengths in the UK, with the average property being let for 44 months.

With the region proving to be a hot spot for London commuters looking for more affordable housing options, rents in this area have been steadily climbing over the last three years, rising from £780 a month in June 2014 to £885 in June this year.

The shortest tenancies in the UK were found in the South West at 15 months where the average rent has fallen to £664 a month in June 2017 from £684 nine months previously. Tenancies were particularly shorter in both Filton and Taunton where average rental agreements were as little as six months.

In Wales, where the average rent as of June 2017 is £599, the typical renter stays in the same property for two years. Tenants in the small market town of Abergele, however, are staying for 30 months on average.

In Scotland, tenancy lengths hits 18 months, with renters in the east of the region staying in rental properties for 20 months on average, while those in the Highlands and Islands changed contract every16 months.

In the last of the four nations, Northern Ireland is currently experiencing rentals lasting an average of 17 months.

Results from a recent tenant survey from LSL found that over a third of its tenants would prefer a tenancy agreement of a minimum of three years. With more and more renters being of the age to start having a family and some living in the properties until their old age it’s clear that many would want the security of at least a three-year tenancy.

‘As the nature of the rental market continues to change, it is positive to see both tenants and landlords benefiting from longer tenancy agreements. Not long ago we saw a rise in short term lets with many landlords viewing them as the most lucrative option and tenants preferring the flexibility they provided,’ said Richard Waind, director at Your Move.

‘However, we’re now seeing a shift towards longer term rentals and the security that they can provide both landlords and tenants. Our research has shown that tenants want to feel settled and if landlords can provide a suitable living space and service, tenancy lengths may increase across the UK,’ he explained.

‘Through this type of extended agreement, we hope to see more cooperation between landlords and renters who both benefit from the affordability and stability long term renting can provide,’ he added.