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Tenants lock in longer tenancies and more seek ‘all bills included’

  • New research shows tenants are staying longer in one rental property to avoid being faced with record rents when moving to a new place:
    • Most tenancies are lasting over two years (63%), and only one in five tenants (21%) stay for a year or less
    • Almost one in five (18%) landlords have seen an increase in the average length of time a tenant is staying in their property
    • Our latest data shows asking rents are rising at the fastest pace ever recorded, up 11% year-on-year to a record £1,088 per calendar month outside London
  • Two thirds (63%) of landlords say they kept the rent the same for their tenants over the past year, with the remaining 37% increasing rents
  • As the cost of living increases, more tenants are focused on finding a home with all bills included. Demand for all bills included jumped by 36% versus last year, outpacing the growth in demand for all other features

Our new research reveals the changing behaviours of tenants against the backdrop of record rents and increasing household bills.

A new study among almost 1,300 landlords found that the most common length of tenancy is over two years, with 18% of landlords saying their average length of tenancy has increased over the past year. Only 5% of landlords have seen the average tenancy length decrease.

The latest data from our Quarterly Rental Tracker shows that national asking rents outside London are rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, now standing at £1,088 per calendar month (pcm), up 11% on this time last year. It is a similar story in the capital where rents are up over 14% to £2,195 pcm.

There are also more than triple the number of tenants enquiring as there are rental properties available, making it the most competitive ever rental market. The lack of available stock is a combination of more tenants staying put in longer tenancies, coupled with high demand from people who didn’t move during the pandemic, or who moved in with friends or family temporarily.

Many landlords have recognised the challenges of rising household bills for tenants, with the majority (63%) choosing not to put up rents over the past year, while a third have increased rents. Some agents in bigger cities report that tenants who were able to move into a property for much lower than the average rent for an area during the pandemic have seen rents increase back up to market value again now that demand has increased.

Analysis of features in over 20,000 build to rent listings on Rightmove has revealed a significant increase in demand for properties with all bills included. Over the past year enquiries from tenants have jumped by 36% for this type of property, the biggest increase out of all available features. Homes with balconies, communal gardens, properties allowing pets and those offering zero deposits all came equal second, with enquiries jumping by 22%.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data comments: “A shortage of rental homes and strong demand for the properties available has led to a greater number of tenants choosing to renew their leases and stay put, rather than re-enter a competitive rental market. People who had been waiting to see what happened last year are now being faced with record rents and so are seeking out properties where they can have more certainty over their outgoings, with all bills included becoming increasingly sought after.

“Landlords may have been tempted to put their rents up given the high demand from new tenants, but many understand the affordability challenges of rising rents and bills, as our study shows that the majority are charging their tenants the same as a year ago. Many landlords build up a relationship with their tenants over a number of years, and they will want to keep a good tenant for longer if they can rather than cash in on a rent rise in the short term.”

Average length of tenancy

Average length of tenancy % of all landlords
More than two years 63%
18 months – two years 16%
One year – 18 months 14%
Less than one year 7%


Change in length of tenancy

Changes to length of tenancy in last 12 months % of all landlords
Tenancy length increased 18%
Tenancy length unchanged 77%
Tenancy length decreased 5%


Top ten features with biggest increase in tenant demand (enquiries sent from tenants to agents, based on analysis of features in 20,000 build to rent listings)

Features Increase in demand
All bills included +36%
Balcony +22%
Communal garden +22%
Pets allowed +22%
Zero deposit +22%
Transport links +21%
Flexible tenancies +20%
Well connected +18%
Professional management +17%
Parking +17%