This Is What Renters Really Want In Their New Home

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
It's no secret that Covid-19 has really shaken up the rental market. Rents in London and other big cities are still dropping significantly. The pull of coastal towns and peaceful country villages has never been greater.
It's also made us value gardens – however tiny – more than ever before. According to Zoopla, which analysed searches by prospective renters between July and September of last year, "garden" has become the most searched-for feature of all.
"Parking" and "garage" are the second and third most searched-for terms, followed by "balcony". Clearly, even renters who remain wedded to the idea of city living are keen to have some kind of outdoor space.
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The fifth most searched-for term is "pets", which could reflect the fact that rental properties welcoming animals are relatively hard to find. According to Zoopla, just 7% of landlords advertise their homes as suitable for pets.
"Flooring", "bills included" and "ensuite" are also among the ten most searched-for terms – as is "studio". Could the struggle of trying to live and work among flatmates 24/7 have increased the appeal of living alone?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the term "rural" makes the top ten as well.
Commenting on the results, Tom Parker of Zoopla said: "The priorities that renters once looked for pre-lockdown may have changed to match the times we’ve been living in, particularly with gardens having become the most desirable feature across the whole of the UK."
Parker also noted that demand for rental properties in the UK has actually increased 20% year-on-year during the pandemic.
"Whilst there was positive news with the stamp duty holiday," Parker added, "some first-time buyers had to put their homeownership plans on hold and remain in the rental market this year, and the annual influx of students going to university in autumn elevated the demand even more."