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The Rental Market Is Putting Down Roots

Why long-term letting is increasing a lifestyle choice and not just for those who can't afford to buy.

We hear many stories of young families unable to buy their own homes in an era of insecurity and financial struggle, but little attention is given to the maturing private rental sector and its ensuing lifestyle.

New studies frequently warn us of rising property prices which render ownership an unattainable aspiration for so many; especially the young or single who are forced into an under-regulated rental sector. Renting is fast becoming the new reality of Britain's housing market but this need not be viewed as a negative for society and families according to CKD Galbraith, Scotland's leading property consultancy. Stable and secure rented accommodation is obtainable and what's more is now the preference for many who could afford to buy.

CKD Galbraith has witnessed a surge in demand for long-term and short-term rentals. Figures from a recent survey conducted by the firm indicate that 36 per cent of the tenants asked intend to rent long-term (six years or more) and 15 per cent sold property to allow them to rent long-term.

The current economic climate and societal inclination to be more mobile, changing jobs more frequently, starting families and getting married later in life means the rental market is booming once again. This time though there is an element of choice, with some choosing to rent for life' for flexibility or to enable money to be invested elsewhere.

It's time for a shift in attitudes towards the private rental sector, it's not only for those who can't afford to buy or those looking for short-term options but offers a different lifestyle choice' that merits consideration.

The Dickson family are long-term tenants, renting a five bed property through CKD Galbarith, who dispute any suggestion that their position in the property market is anything less than satisfactory. Having lived in Pumpherston Farmhouse, West Lothian since 2012 Elaine and Alpine Dickson are very happy with their living arrangements and the stability it brings to them and their family. Having sold their previous property enabling them to let a large rural property for their children they have no intention to be tied to a mortgage again.

Elaine said: "We sought out a long-term contract with CKD Galbraith for a number of reasons; Pumpherston is the perfect property to bring up kids, it's spacious, modern and plenty of surrounding countryside for burning off excess energy! Letting has given us a better quality of life, a larger property and a sense of freedom; it made complete sense for us."

Last year, the firm as a whole let over 900 properties so has a wealth of experience in assisting both landlords and prospective tenants.

Shirley Kenyon, head of letting for CKD Galbraith gives the following advice;

"Landlords who are inexperienced or unsure exactly how long they will stay in the rental market should not dismiss the idea of long-term letting. It is understandable that a 20 or 30 year lease might not be desirable but they may be able to consider five years or more dependent on whether the property was mortgage free or not.

"Landlords should consider asking short term tenants whether they would accept a long-term agreement and explain the benefits of doing so whilst matching the tenants with appropriate properties to suit. A lot of the properties we deal with on country estates have long-term tenants who have a level of responsibility over maintenance but also have the opportunity to make minor changes and make a rental property feel like home.

"The rental trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future as it now offers tenants a degree of affordability, stability and quality never seen before."