Desperation is the father of invention, but in London’s competitive rental market, tenants are walking the beaten path.
The result is a truly bizarre bidding war, filled with love letters, headshots, chocolates and flowers from tenants hoping to entice the landlord, wall street journal Report. A strange phenomenon in London’s rental market mimics an old-fashioned way of courting, known as ‘Bridgetown’ style.
“I actually thought about pulling the plug on the phone line when the calls started blowing up,” realtor James Dainton told the publication. “I said to the team, ‘How do we actually deal with 70 to 80 applicants?’ We try to be fair, but at the same time you have to be a little bit brutal when you get so many inquiries.”
For Londoners looking for a new home, paying rent and co-signers months in advance has become commonplace. In a market like this, it’s not just money that speaks. Increased competition means landlords have to look beyond bank accounts to determine the suitability of applicants, according to the outlet.
Love letter-like personal statements detailing a renter’s hobbies, interests, romantic life and athletic pursuits are now ubiquitous.
“It was like an audition,” Keaton director Oliver Cruickshank told the outlet. “Personality can come into play. If a landlord thinks they have a connection to a tenant, they might make that decision.”
Hopeful applicants came to showings with flowers and chocolates to aid in their efforts. Bidding wars are a regular occurrence, but brokers told the outlet that intangible factors such as character make landlords prefer “suits” over cash.
London’s rental market has tightened like a corset after the pandemic led to the sale of many apartments and the subsequent return of workers and students to London, the outlet reported. When supply falls, prices must rise. Rents are up 49% from their April 2021 pandemic nadir, according to Knight Frank. The jump marks the second-highest post-pandemic rental growth rate globally, behind only New York City.
Bidding wars have intensified in recent years, and the pandemic has turned many markets upside down. Last year, there were rental bidding wars in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. The rental market in the Sunbelt was also on fire last year, with hotspots like Austin paying 35 percent more than listed rents.
— kate hingsh