Prospective tenants are sending landlords ‘smiley’ photos or sob stories about their pets in a bid to secure a home as competition for rental properties sparks ferocious bidding wars

  • Rents rocketed by up to 14 per cent in the last year as people flood back to cities
  • Property landlords now have their pick of tenants meaning competition is fierce
  • People are sending CVs with ‘smiley’ photos or pet sob stories to secure homes 

Prospective tenants are resorting to desperate measures and sob stories in a bid to secure elusive tenancies.

Rents have rocketed by up to 14 per cent in the last year as people flood back to the cities following the end of pandemic restrictions.

Boris Johnson last week announced that low-paid workers will be able to use income from benefits to buy a council house, but critics say he needs to do more to help young professionals.

With three prospective tenants for each available property, people are seeking to stand out from the crowd in ferocious bidding wars. Some are accompanying their CVs to landlords with pictures of them enjoying wholesome hobbies.

‘For some landlords it’s not always about the money, it’s about the calibre of tenant,’ said Richard Davies, Head of Lettings at London-based estate agent Chestertons.

‘And tenants are doing all they can to try and secure a property. You typically get CVs showing a happy family or a couple with an adorable cat, as if to say, “Please take us, feel sorry for us”.’

Prospective tenants are resorting to desperate measures such as sending smiley and happy photos, bragging about their hobbies or sending sob stories to secure elusive tenancies

Mr Davies said around ten per cent now send a ‘smiley and happy’ photo CV, adding that it was popular to mention a love of cooking or baking.

Some landlords are put off renting to people with pets, so those with them emphasise an emotional backstory of their beloved animal.

‘If you say you’ve got a rescue mongrel you might pull on the heartstrings of some landlords as opposed to a designer dog that you’ve paid £3,000 for,’ said Mr Davies.

But James Hathaway, director of Winkworth estate agents in Reading, said: ‘Every landlord has the choice of tenants so unfortunately they can be picky.

‘People often send CVs with a picture of their dog, its life story and comments from a previous landlord, but for most landlords it still doesn’t wash as they’ve got two other customers without any animals.’

The national average rent outside of London is £1,088 per month, up from £982 last year. In the capital, it is £2,193 per month, a year-on-year rise of 14.3 per cent.

Rents rocketed by up to 14% in the last year as people flood back to the cities post lockdown

Letting company UNCLE, which manages serviced rental apartments in London, has 1,982 tenants on its waitlist.

Tom Bill, head of research at estate agency Knight Frank, said the shortage of rental properties had been created in part by the holiday on stamp duty encouraging landlords to sell.

Industry insiders believe the dire lettings market should be a priority for Boris Johnson.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘While the government is wasting time on an expensive, nonsense bid to extend Right to Buy, our services are picking up the phone to families who cannot find anywhere they can afford to rent.’

Business manager Charlotte, 24, and her partner are in well-paid jobs but struggled to find anywhere to rent in their preferred area of Battersea, south London. They eventually offered £150 over the asking price to let a property in Shoreditch, East London.

‘My partner and I both earn £50,000 in new graduate jobs, but the landlord said there were people with better salaries and sturdier jobs than us,’ she said.

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