Overview of the Rental Property Sector
There are hundreds of thousands of businesses operating within the residential rental property sector, such as letting agents, property management companies, tenant screening firms, relocation services, commercial leasing and many more. The global market exceeds $100 billion a year and generally excludes the holiday rental market. There are many reasons why people choose to rent. Many countries have a culture in which owning a property (rather than renting a property), is seen as a means to acquire lifetime wealth. However, in some countries majority of the population cannot obtain a mortgage or afford to buy a house and have to rent instead.
The advent of the credit crunch has exposed the problem of personal debt levels of potential home-owners. As a result, many mortgage lenders have increased deposit levels to unaffordable levels, forcing many young people to rent an accommodation while saving up for a deposit. Similarly, rising unemployment rates has forced workers to become more transient and rent near their place of occupation. At the same time, more people are separating or divorcing leading to an increasing number of single people living alone in rented accommodation. Government policies strongly influence the levels of housing stock available for rental purposes.
Many businesses exist to help tenants locate suitable combination. For example, many rental vacancy listing services provide easy access to available rental property, through online advertisements and notice boards. Most letting agents will require prospective tenants to go through some type of due diligence process. This involves tenant screening methods to ensure tenants are suitable and can afford the rental housing to let. Whereas, many property management companies will undertake a wide variety of services. These usually include drafting tenancy agreements, dealing with tenant enquiries or complaints, sorting out repairs, rent collection, general garden and property maintenance and building insurance. Many facilities services companies specialise in dealing with landlords and tenants of serviced apartments, blocks of flats, commercial property and industrial units.
In the corporate sector, many rental agent companies provide executive housing and serviced apartments for corporate clients. These relocation type companies can be particularly useful for international organisations, (who may have operations overseas and offer placements to their employees). Expatriates expect a higher standard of long-term rental property and frequently need advice and guidance on visas, customs processes, removal and storage logistics as well as transportation and security.
Many university students rely heavily upon rental property companies for the duration of their course. Many accommodation agents will deal directly with universities. This arrangement helps students find shared housing, a place at halls of residence or other affordable private rental housing. As many students are living away from home for the first time, it is only natural that students are looking for advice on grants and assistance as well as provide details of temporary housing.
Most universities have an accommodation office (manned during the summer break), or perhaps a student union that has links to local accommodation agents and letting agents. These can be good places to find property listings and shared accommodation. There is also a buoyant temporary housing sector catering for sales reps and recreational travellers seeking temporary rental accommodation. These tend to have branch outlets located amongst popular tourist destinations and in inner-city locations.