A recent study by Zero Deposit, a company offering tenancy deposit alternatives, has revealed a significant preference among renters for properties with utility bills included in the rent. The research, which involved surveying over 2,400 tenants, found that 55% of them would opt for this convenience to avoid the stress associated with managing utility bills.
The study highlights that 41% of tenants experience stress from the task of organizing and paying for utilities, particularly in the current climate of high and rising household running costs. Affordability concerns are a primary cause of this stress, along with the challenges of having sufficient funds at the right time, understanding fluctuations in bills, and dealing with multiple suppliers at the beginning and end of tenancies.
Despite this preference for bills-included rentals, the availability of such properties in the market is limited. Zero Deposit’s analysis of rental stock on Zoopla showed that only 12% of the listings across England offer utilities included in the rent. The options are especially limited in the South East and London, with only 9% and 10% of rental properties, respectively, including bills. In contrast, the East Midlands shows a higher proportion, with 22% of available rentals including utility costs.
Sam Reynolds, CEO of Zero Deposit, commented on the findings: “Tenants across the nation are struggling with rental affordability at present and this struggle isn’t confined to asking rents and rental deposits alone… But it’s not just the cost that can be a daunting prospect, understanding their utility bills and juggling their finances to ensure they are paying the right people at the right time is also a factor… So it’s hardly surprising that so many would prefer to have their utility bills included within the cost of renting.”
Reynolds also noted the psychological impact, stating that many tenants feel they’ve lost control of their monthly outgoings, and understandably, a large proportion would prefer a property where utilities are included for added convenience.