Property investment is a landscape that constantly shifts. There are so many moving parts impacting future decisions that it’s important to get the fundamentals right early on. While planning and understanding the numbers are key, the first thing investors need to consider when choosing a property is what the tenant wants. Without consistent tenant demand, your buy-to-let property is more vulnerable to void periods, which can be particularly damaging across a wider portfolio. What you think might be popular amongst tenants and what tenants actually look for in a rental property can be wildly different, so staying up to date with these priorities is crucial, especially in 2022. Tenant demands are always evolving, but since the pandemic forced everyone indoors, renters are wanting significantly more from their properties. From open-plan living to pet-friendly homes, what exactly are tenants looking for in a rental property in the new year? Working from Home Spaces If we’ve learnt anything from the pandemic, it’s the overwhelming success of flexible working. As a result of numerous national lockdowns, remote working has become the ‘norm’ for a lot of businesses, and is seemingly here to stay. Naturally, with more opportunities to work from home than ever before, tenants are now prioritising bigger homes. Not only are renters looking for more space to enjoy a healthier work/life balance, they’re also demanding extra rooms for home office spaces. This is crucial for those who are remote working full-time in order to provide a split between work and home - after all, no one wants to work, relax and sleep in the same space. Outdoor Areas Tenants are not only searching for more space inside, they’re also prioritising properties with outdoor areas. This demand emerged from the UK’s first national lockdown, which saw the nation confined to their homes during one of the hottest summers on record. For those on furlough schemes with access to a garden, lockdown was a long, summer holiday. That said, for tenants without access to a garden or any outside space, their experiences of lockdown were fairly different. As a result, rental properties with these additional spaces are rising in demand, which has since pushed the number of searches for properties with terraces up by 204%. Although lockdowns seem to be a distant memory, in comparison to pre-pandemic times, we’re still spending considerably more time at home, especially those who are now working flexibly. For investors considering buy-to-let in 2022, it’s worth comparing the costs and potential of properties with balconies or communal spaces. Pet-Friendly Homes The UK is a nation of pet lovers, but for a lot of tenants in rented property, having a furry friend has never been a practical option. While research has shown that just 7% of landlords advertise their property as pet-friendly, the number of households with a pet has reached an all-time high since the pandemic. With more pet parents in the UK than ever before, pet-friendly rental properties are quickly becoming a non-negotiable demand for a lot of tenants. Whether it’s a dog, cat or smaller companion, this new tenant demand should be a key consideration for those looking to invest in 2022. Transport Links Despite the rise of flexible working, a lot of businesses are now bringing employees back to the office. In an attempt to maintain company culture and encourage team working, we’re seeing more companies - especially those located in city centres - introduce more office days as the UK continues to ‘live with Covid’. Having spent the best part of the last two years in some form of lockdown, office working was an afterthought for the majority of employees. As a result, we saw more tenants swap city living for a quieter life. This is making transport links even more important, with tenants eager to have the best of both worlds - peaceful, suburban living within commutable distance of a city centre. Open-Plan Living As more new build properties dominate the market, modern homes are becoming a key demand amongst UK tenants. More often than not, all of these properties have one thing in common - open-plan living. Whether it’s a large kitchen/diner or a spacious kitchen with a feature island, open-plan living can make an entire property feel much bigger. There are a lot of considerations that come with purchasing a buy-to-let property, but having an idea of what tenants are looking for is arguably one of the most important. When it comes down to it, tenants are what make your rental property a success, so knowing what could be the difference between renting out your buy-to-let and void periods is crucial. Tenant demands are always evolving, but over the last two years, they have changed beyond measure. With renters now prioritising pet-friendly homes, open-plan spaces and outdoor areas, being aware of these demands can help you make more informed decisions when considering the best places to invest in 2022.