AP Photo - Frank Augstein

The term “bills included” has moved up to second place on the list of popular internet searches, compared to its previous fourth place ranking a year ago, according to property portal Rightmove.

According to data from Rightmove over the past year, tenants’ top priority has consistently been finding accommodation where they can have pets, followed by the need for garages to create extra space for remote work. However, the latest data shows that “bills included” has now taken second place in terms of tenants’ main needs.

Tim Bannister, a property data expert at Rightmove, stated that landlords who can offer this benefit are likely to attract a large number of applicants.

To meet this demand, the growing Build to Rent sector is offering flats that include the cost of bills with higher-end offerings may also include on-site gym memberships.

Dan Wilson Craw, the deputy director of Generation Rent, which lobbies for renters, presented the BBC with the following advantages and disadvantages of inclusive rents:

  • Not having to deal with a utility company and the potential for large increases in bills can be an attractive prospect
  • It can be difficult to know how good a deal you are getting. Landlords must provide an energy performance certificate which contains some useful information about how expensive a property is to heat compared with others, but they don’t necessarily have up-to-date information about what energy costs would be at current tariffs
  • At the end of your initial tenancy it might be difficult to negotiate a lower rent if energy bills have fallen.
  • Conversely, if the landlord wants to raise the rent to account for higher energy costs, it can again be difficult to know if you’re getting a good deal – particularly if you don’t know what your energy usage has been
    If you need to save money, you don’t have the option of cutting back on energy use

Despite many renters’ desire to purchase their first home, tenants are still finding it difficult to do so because the cost of buying a house has not decreased enough to be within their means.