Tenants in London Claim Landlords Invade Privacy Before Renting Out

close up view hand of property realtor / landlord giving key house to buyer / tenant.

The couple, Emily and Owen Waters, were searching for a two-bedroom apartment in Wimbledon, West London when they encountered intense rental competition. To get the apartment, they had to fill out an application that included their work, romantic relationships, interests, and any hobbies they might have. 

A researcher at the New Economics Foundation, Dr. Abi O’Connor, claims that landlords now have more influence in the rental market than tenants do. This shift occurred in the past two years. Many landlords now believe they have the right to conduct screenings similar to job interviews.

Fifteen people are vying for each available rental home, twice as many as in the days before the outbreak. According to property website Zoopla, the average monthly rent for a house in the UK is £1,226, which is £350 higher than five years ago. The average monthly rent for a private residence is currently above £1,000.

Shelter CEO Polly Neate argues that, due to the market’s creaking under the weight of demand, tenants are being made to jump through “extreme hoops” in order to locate a house. Unreasonably high deposits in advance, guarantors with demanding requirements, and the persistence of illegal prohibitions on renters claiming assistance are only a few examples of the increasingly irrational demands made by landlords.

London estate company Hudsons Property suggests paying 6-12 months upfront to gain a competitive advantage over other candidates. 

A landlord once held a Zoom call inviting all potential tenants to participate, and then he randomly selected one name from a hat to be the property’s new owner.

When 28-year-old campaign manager and planner Tom Darling discovered the perfect apartment near Old Street in East London in January, he was prepared to deliver his passport and pay stubs to his real estate agent at a moment’s notice. He was informed that the landlord preferred an image of himself on the application; nevertheless, he chose not to provide one, and as a result, his request for the apartment was denied.

Tenants were hoping that a ‘once in a generation’ plan to restructure the rental industry would strengthen tenants’ rights and prohibit no-fault evictions. But when the general election was called two weeks ago, the Renters Reform Bill was put on ice.