• Inflation and the need for Rent Temperance

Inflation and the need for Rent Temperance

23 Aug 2022

In spite of Bristol’s overheated letting market, some landlords are taking the bold resolution to be considerate towards their tenants. In moderating their rental income, they alleviate the tenant’s burden, secure their rental income, whilst defeating the invisible hand of the free market. Here are successful tales from a changing letting market.

Inflation and the cost-of-living crisis

Rents in Bristol are rising at an alarming rate, and the sense of despair and anguish it creates among tenants is palpable. They are fearful; they say the market is “brutal”, “insane”, “ridiculous”; we hear it every day.

The inflation in essential commodities’ prices only makes things worse. Some tenants are already facing hard choices between food and rent, and in a few months, the rigours of the winter will only increase the strain, potentially forcing more people to choose between shelter, food or heating.

Of course, the government is taking initiatives to support UK households, the Bristol City Council is giving tax rebates and energy companies are helping people in need. Yet the cost of living crisis affects everyone and it is too big for the government to tackle alone; we all need to step in wherever and whenever we can.

The immediate way to tackle increasing rents rests in the landlords and tenants’ hands, in that fragile relationship, that essential yet often disregarded power balance between the one providing the accommodation and the one paying for it.  When landlords and their agents are considerate towards tenants, they take the driving seat of the housing market, making it a humane place. Read below how our letting agency is helping landlords and tenants to make a real change in our society.

The importance of Consideration in demanding times

Landlords and agents have the privilege to decide the level of rents they want to charge, and by resisting the urge to follow the rent hikes, they create a healthy environment for their tenants.

At Rent happily, we encourage an approach of consideration toward the tenants’ ability to afford their rent. As letting agents, we have noticed that when tenants pay a sensible rent, it secures the income to the landlord even during economic crisis. Throughout lockdown, we helped our community face the insecurity -and often the loss of income- with striking results: not a single tenant faced rent arrears.

Over the years, we have suggested different measures to the landlords we work for. They all responded positively, in three different ways:

-        Moderation: landlords being willing to accept lower-than-market rent for their properties, knowing that this helps tenants stay longer in their dwellings;

-        Restraint: landlords deciding not to raise the rent over the years, keeping their income unchanged and thus shielding their tenants from the harsh conditions of a toughening market;

-        Reduction: landlords lowering the rent altogether, whilst offering the same level of service and accommodation to their tenants.

These responses are all remarkable, and we have been honoured to work with such inspiring people who are making a real difference in Bristol’s housing market.

Beside making rents more reasonable for tenants, the above measures also benefit the landlord. In our experience, managing a tenancy with temperance reduces rent arrears, minimizes tenancy void, increases the landlord’s security of income, and ultimately adds some lightness of heart in the mix, bringing care into the landlord-tenant relationship.

We all want to live in a world where tenants have a secure roof over their head and landlords have safety of income, and being considerate is a step in that direction.

Boris Drappier

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