There is no shortage of research telling us about the importance of good broadband in rental properties. It is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Tenants will no longer hope for fast, efficient broadband, they will expect it.
As such, landlords need to cater to this growing demand. In many cases – especially young tenants who come under the umbrella of ‘Generation Y’ – it is the feature that is sought after above all else.
Whether it’s for students who need fast, reliable access to the internet to submit work online and regularly update their social media profiles, young professionals working from home, keen online gamers, creatives, YouTube addicts or eager film watchers, there are a wide range of tenants who will demand speedy connectivity and little to no ‘buffering’.
We now live in a very digital world – where we shop, date, book holidays, read newspapers and bank online – so it’s understandable that fast internet speeds and good mobile coverage are now so high up on a tenant’s wish-list. These are things that people now struggle to live without.
Recent findings from LivingCom highlighted how vital high-speed internet is when it comes to renting, with some 96% of those surveyed saying that a lack of internet when moving into a new home is a significant source of frustration.
What’s more, the research found that rental properties with poor broadband connectivity could have a negative impact on a landlord’s rental income, as it becomes harder to win over – and then keep in place – tenants if internet speeds aren’t up to scratch.
The importance of good broadband is shown in even starker terms by another bit of research carried out by Gocompare.com Broadband, which found that some tenants now consider good broadband to be even more important than heating. Some 76% of those surveyed now see broadband as an essential utility, with 36% insisting that they could not live without it.
Surprisingly, it was the over-65s who placed the most emphasis on good quality internet, with 81% considering it to be an essential utility. Younger demographics, though, are more willing to take drastic steps to ensure they can Facebook, Netflix and Instagram to their heart’s content – with 23% of 18-24 year olds prepared to go without heating for a week as long as speedy broadband is guaranteed. An even braver 15% would happily be left in the cold for a month as long as they had an uninterrupted internet service.
Many people do now consider the internet to be a utility, as important to their daily lives as water and energy. Slowly but surely, society has moved online – which is why people struggle when they don’t have easy and reliable access to the internet.
As a landlord, you have a number of options when it comes to broadband. You can sort it out on your tenant’s behalf, you can ask your letting agent do so for you as part of the management service they provide, or the tenants themselves can make their own arrangements. In some cases, tenants like to take on this responsibility – they may be very internet and tech-savvy and know where to find the best deals/broadband speeds.
LivingCom’s research, however, found that three-quarters of young professionals would be more likely to rent a home that already has pre-installed internet services, so this is something that you may want to consider. If you can dangle the prospect of good internet connection as part of your sales pitch, there is a good chance that you will occupy your properties that much quicker.
Location also plays a part in all this. As a landlord, you will already understand the importance of buying in the right sort of areas. Rental properties near train stations, university campuses and town/city centres generate much more demand than homes in more rural areas. And it’s a similar situation with broadband – connectivity is likely to be much better in towns and cities than it is in more remote, hard-to-reach locations.
With the importance placed on broadband, it’s something for landlords and property investors to consider if they are thinking about expanding their portfolio. Homes that have poor mobile phone signal and slow internet access are likely to be less appealing to the modern tenant, so if you choose to invest in rural homes you may have more difficulty in filling your properties with ease.
Good broadband is just one part of what makes a rental home desirable, but it is a significant part.
For more information about what Letting Solutions can do to help you make the most from your rental properties, please get in touch with us on 01506 496 006.
As West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we have the skillset and knowhow to help you get good, reliable tenants in situ.
We also provide free and instant valuations, to give you an idea of how much you could be charging in rent.