2021 was a busy year for the rental sector, with people scrutinising their living space with sharper focus and some flocking back to cities to be at the heart of the urban action once more. But with 2022 here, what does the future hold in store? It’s a particularly relevant question for Londoners, 27% of whom rent privately (compared to 17% in the rest of England, according to the 2020/21 English Housing Survey). The team from Quintain Living – the award-winning management company overseeing the rental of more than 3,000 apartments in Wembley Park – reveals their predictions for 2022.
Top 10 rental trends for 2022: What are renters looking for from their homes?
1. Outdoor space: After nearly two years of restrictions, 2022 will see renters continuing to prioritise outdoor space, according to the Quintain Living team. For residents of the company’s buildings in Wembley Park, there are plenty of options to choose from. Every apartment has its own balcony or garden, while each building also features its own unique outdoor communal space. At Canada Gardens, for example, residents have access to an acre of green space dotted with BBQs and outdoor dining areas, allotment beds for growing their own fruit and veg, and a pirate ship playpark for the little ones.
2. Indoor space: It’s not just the great outdoors that renters will want spend time in next year. The great indoors is also, understandably, now top of many people’s priority list. Spacious homes with interiors that encourage relaxation will be a top trend for 2022, with Quintain Living currently experiencing particular interest in its furnished apartments with two or more bedrooms. Equal-sized bedrooms are a must in these homes especially where the second bedroom is occupied, particularly for sharers.
3. Space to work from home: Many of those who began working from home due to the pandemic have decided to continue doing so (beyond Plan B), or to split their time between home and the office. This has led to a notable increase in single occupants renting two-bedroom apartments, so that they can use the second bedroom as a home office. Others are seeking out apartments that come with social spaces in which they can co-work, such as the lovely work from home spaces at Quintain Living’s Robinson building or the dedicated work from home sheds available at Canada Gardens.
4. The 15-minute neighbourhood: Convenience is going to be a top trend in 2022, with renters embracing the 15-minute neighbourhood; where you can find everything you need within a 15 minute walk. Wembley Park certainly ticks all the boxes here, with everything from supermarkets, restaurants and coffee shops to independent bakeries and delis. There’s London’s largest BOXPARK on the doorstep, London Designer Outlet for shopping, the Troubadour Theatre, Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena, Wembley for culture and entertainment, local markets, fitness clubs, schools, nurseries and more. All within a 15-minute, traffic free stroll. This is urban living at its best and the concept is sure to continue with a vengeance in 2022.
5. Community: Our sense of community has shifted since the pandemic began and that newfound appreciation for one’s neighbours looks set to continue as we enter 2022. At Quintain Living, residents eagerly join in a wide range of events designed to build and strengthen the local community, from pizza nights and bingo to rooftop Pilates and seminars on mental health. Each building has a concierge available day and night meaning there’s always a friendly face on hand.
6. Pet-friendly homes: The days of choosing between a rental apartment and being a pet-parent are long gone. Quintain Living welcomes pets of all shapes and sizes, with would-be residents even able to include ‘pet play park’ in their search criteria when browsing the company’s apartments online. Dedicated exercise areas for dogs, walking services, doggy day-care and more ensure that pet owners feel not just welcomed but supported. With renters now understanding that such choices are available to them, 2022 is likely to see a steep rise in the number of people demanding pet-friendly homes and facilities.
7. Covid-safe shared spaces: Though we’ve come a long way over the past couple of years, precautions are still very much welcomed when it comes to Covid. As such, we can expect demand for features such as touchless entry, contactless deliveries and readily available sanitiser to continue into 2022. Those operating rental properties will need to continue to offer residents a safe environment and to stay on top of changing Covid protocols, as we’ve learned this winter.
8. Smart tech: From keyless entry to smart appliances to resident apps, 2022 will see a greater push towards technology, making life easier in the rental sector and championing resident engagement in growing rental communities. This is already apparent in Wembley Park, with 90% of residents signing up to the Quintain Living Resident App when it launched at the start of 2021.
9. Green features: Inspired by COP26 and the ongoing pressure to do better when it comes to the environment, renters are upping their demands when it comes to eco-friendly features and will continue to do so in 2022. From double glazing to electric vehicle charging points to solar panels on roofs, renters want greener homes – and rightly so. Features such as AirScore Gold-rated air quality and clever Envac recycling facilities (which sends nothing to landfill and reduces bin-lorry emissions) have certainly been well received in this respect at Quintain Living.
10. Flexible leases: If there’s one thing we’ve learned over that past couple of years, it’s that plans can change. As such, 2022’s renters are going to be looking for a lot more flexibility when it comes to their tenancy agreements. Some may want to the stability of commitment to a home for three or more years, while others will be seeking something for a shorter length of time. Those providing rental homes will need to ensure they build flexible lease terms into their offering. Shorter leases are particularly appealing in the Corporate Lets market, where companies like Quintain Living are offering corporate packages for global businesses wanting to relocate employees.
“2022 is going to be an exciting year for the rental sector after such a pivotal moment in history regarding changing human behaviour and how people value their living space. Tenants are becoming increasingly discerning about what they’re looking for in a rental property. From what we’ve learned through the course of the pandemic, we believe these key trends will do much to drive the shape of the market over the year ahead and beyond.” Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living