Tenants keen to include utilities in the rent

‘Bills included’ has become the most popular renter search term as a result of the spiralling cost of bills, Chestertons research has revealed.

More than three quarters (77%) want utility bills included the rent, up from three in five in April 2019.

Similarly three in five now want the internet (60%) integrated into the rent, up from just over a third (37%) in 2019.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “People looking for a new place to rent are casting their net much wider than before, in the hope that it will help them find a suitable place that they can afford.

“Although it’s not as constrained as it was a few months ago, the number of homes is still nowhere near enough to meet demand from tenants.

“The lack of homes is down to more people choosing to stay put and sign longer contracts, some landlords selling up due to more onerous taxes and others taking advantage of record house prices, and hybrid working shifting some demand to more rural and suburban pockets of Great Britain.

“This has all led to a fiercely competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting that in some cases properties are being rented out in just a few hours.”

People looking for ‘bills included’ has jumped up to the top position for renters using Keyword Sort, a Rightmove tool where people can prioritise their property search results by choosing specific terms.

It has overtaken those looking for pet friendly homes for the first time, and is now also higher priority than gardens and garages. Last year bills included was just outside the top five.

While the number of new rental properties coming onto the market is slowly getting better, there is still a huge imbalance between demand and supply.

New rental properties were up 3% in July versus June, but total available rental properties remain 25% behind this time last year.

Rents continue to reach new records, with the average asking rent outside London now standing at £1,126 per calendar month, 19% higher than two years ago.

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