Finding it really hard to find tenants for my 3 bed flat in London. WHY?


So we have been trying to find tenants for a 3 bedroom flat in Zone 2/3 East London. It’s a really nice modern built flat and asking price is very reasonable in comparison to other similar properties and we have had to reduce price several times to nearly match prices being advertised for 2 bedroom flats in the area. Price is now so low for 3 bedroom flat in this area that we cannot reduce anymore. We put up our ad first time on open rent towards end November 2023 as tenancy was ending middle January 2024 and have had to duplicate ad again in February to be allowed to continue advertising on the platform. Strangely since first advertising until date, there has been barely any enquiries. The few enquirers that came through never responded back to confirm their viewing requests. This is like a total of 7 enquirers and whose profile did not appear to be suitable or able to afford the rent. We honestly thought we would be inundated with messages given that price is now further reduced to match 2 bedrooms prices advertised in the area. As it turns out we are getting no interest at all and don’t really know why. We thought the rental market in London was nuts and demand far exceeded supply. We don’t know why we are finding it so difficult to let. The same property is being marketed by a High Street agency with multiple branches all over London since more than 3 weeks, but without any luck so far. We thought due to Christmas and New Year, the market is being slow, but afterwards things would pick up. Here we are heading towards March and no sign of progress. Does anyone have any ideas? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Three bedroom flats are not so popular in my experience. Families that need 3 bedrooms are usually looking for a garden too.

Perhaps if you showed us the advert we might spot something? I’m a tenant, I could let you know my thoughts. We go for 3 bedroom when we are looking.

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I’m not sure if it’s allowed to put the property video on this platform. I wouldn’t want to anyway as it’s such a hassle for me doing so. Nevertheless thanks for your thoughts.

We have a number of properties, some local to us outside London which we use openrent for - even when we used agents we did the viewings. We have some in London too and we use an agent for that. Price is a bit different! 11% inc vat (for initial term and 2 years renewals) just to find a tenant, compared to £100 for openrent including referencing, but we have very few voids and get good rents. It is a fortune compared to openrent but tbh no plans to change. Viewings 35 miles away are not the practical for us and better to get them let. We use Foxtons. My daughter works there so we get a bit of discount.

Thanks @David89 for your response.

Foxtons are not cheap, we were quoted over 20% for their fully managed services but we declined as we found the fees appallingly disproportionate to quality of services provided based on experience from current and past.

And it really didn’t matter whether they were big name or no name agencies offering anything from higher percentages to intermediate and very low fixed rates, experience is the same across board. They only work hard to get tenants into the property and then try to collect all their fees upfront and leave us at the mercy of the tenants and market forces. They also tie down tenants deposits and won’t release months after tenants leaves the property even though there was nothing to deduct from tenants deposit. So much stress with nearly every end of tenancy because you discover then that the checkin inventory albeit from a third party was lousy and not fit for purpose.

These are just some of the few examples among many that’s making us take matters into our hands and continue hoping for some luck through openrent to break free of the high street agencies. Just too much stress dealing with them nowadays and paying to be stressed.

However, another bigger problem is discovering that there are not much people looking to rent given all the talks about there been problems with fewer homes to let, too much demand and too few supply of rental homes - It’s just not true.

Personally I never use an agent for management. They tend to use expensive tradesmen as well as taking a cut. I wouldn’t entirely trust them to manage effectively. Agree the costs are very high even for tenant finder only however they get good rents, very few voids (usually back to back tenancies) and for us a 60 mile round trip for viewings is too much.
If you are having problems letting in the current good London market you need to try and work out why. It is usually price or condition that affects it.


Sorry I don’t have any answers, I just wanted to say that I share the same challenge - I found it very difficult to get much interest in a 3 bed flat in Zone 3 London. It seems 3 bed flats are simply not as desirable as much as smaller properties or houses. I am surprised that there hasn’t been more interest in yours given all the steps and rent reductions you are doing. If I was a tenant, I’d have snapped up a 3 bed if it was a similar price to a 2 bed!

As an example of the difference in demand, I recently had two properties advertised at the same time, one was a furnished 1-bed and the other an unfurnished 3-bed. Despite the 1-bed being less modern and less conveniently located, the interest was through the roof for that and we had several offers over the asking on the day of viewings. In contrast, it was tumbleweed for the 3-bed, despite being recently renovated and closer to station, shopping centre etc. Literally days went by without any enquiries. I’m not sure if the difference in interest is also due to furnished vs unfurnished? I tried advertising the 3 bed on Spareroom and even contacting prospective tenants directly as there seems to be more people looking for a larger house share scenario on that site, but it’s a lot of effort and a bit riskier as it’s essentially a group of strangers being thrown together. I considered listing with a high street estate agent (also v high fees) and they said the flat was ideal for professional sharers and that they had lots of registered tenants looking for 3 beds, which made the lack of interest so far even more baffling. In the end I found someone, a professional couple wanting extra space, via Openrent and currently in the contract phase so fingers crossed. Good luck for yours too!

Hi Lynda4

Where about is your property in London?

Kind regards

Hi Mita,

Thank you very much for your thoughts.

It is a real struggle indeed with our 3 bedrooms. We have now conditioned our mind to accept the rental loss for the ongoing void period and the reality of this situation.

Hi Donna28,

The property is in Zone 2/3 East London

Hi David,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I did a bit more research after reading your post and just discovered that the building has a big 360* roof top garden with very beautiful views of the canary wharf skyline which I didn’t know about prior to posting our advertisement on open rent. I’m not sure if this would make any difference now if I could edit the advert to mention it.

I also don’t think that the property is suited for families especially with infants and toddlers as it’s fully furnished - and not toddlers and infant proof - so that from insurance point of view, we worry that furnitures might topple over and fall on the kids. We also worry that parents might start demanding we modify certain aspects of the property to suit their children or have to remove some or all of our furnitures which we are not willing to accommodate as we have no spare storage space to store them. And if they choose to move out after 1 tenancy cycle, who says the next tenants won’t demand for furnishings. However the property might be suitable for families with older kids, that would actually be an ideal situation.

We have often rented to professional workers in the past (sharing) but since past 2 years, we note that the employment landscape has drastically changed so that there seem to be much reduction in the category of applicants looking to share 3 bedrooms.

Sharers would also make the property an HMO, with all the attendent regulation and cost.

How about trying this: change it to an unfurnished listing and say it’s perfect for families and see what interest you get. During viewings, you can talk about how you will be getting rid of the furniture but if the applicant is interested in keeping any, you could come to some arrangement. They may actually prefer your furniture, or want to keep just the beds or … who knows? If they are super interested and there is now a lot of interest, you may be able to say that you’ll give them preference if they take it furnished.

If you manage to secure a tenant who actually does want unfurnished, then you can get rid of it all. It is costing you to have the flat empty in lost rent and utilities, so losing the furniture may be cheaper than having no tenants.


What i do to see if there is a high demand for my rental properties in a pacific area i visit three letting agents in the area to see what property type is in demand from tenants in that area like amount of bedrooms, are tenants in the area mostly professionals, students, families and so on, property type old stock or new build, what conditions the tenants want the property furnished or unfurnished, what kind of spec are tenants expecting also what level of rent are tenants paying in the area and so on, if i get similar results from each letting agent i know what kind of property that will rent quickly in that area, you can try this strategy to more understand property rental trend in your area

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Hi Lynda4

I am looking for a 2/3 bedroom, the problem I have is a Landlord that wishes to rent furnished, I’m looking for unfurnished, so I am able to make it my own long term. Plus some tenants do not wish to use furnishing that have been used due to hygiene. I try and find a mutual balance with the Landlord.

I wish you all the best in finding a suitable tenant.

Letting furnished is an issue for many tenants . If they have stuff they then need to pay extra to store their stuff somewhere else as there is no space.
Even letting one bed flats I have found most tenants want unfurnished - they want to either
With furnished lettings you may attract those seeking more temporary accommodation - eg those who are homeless or those who have a family home elsewhere but have moved for work - they will want use you while they look around - its a valid niche especialy if you are near somewhere that people move to to work in.
But even then most people want to make a place their own

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Yes, licensing is already in place. The property currently has selective licensing allowing up to 4 people, however we have often advertised maximum number of we allow 3 sharers

Thanks @Tatemono for your suggestions.

We have considered getting rid of the furnitures but because we mostly rely on High Street agents for this particular property when our openrent adventure to self manage is unsuccessful, the agencies have often asked us to keep the furnitures as it makes it easier for them to find professional working tenants.

And honestly, in our many years of having this property, this is one of the worst times having this severe challenges finding tenants.

Property is near canary wharf and with a tube station less than 2 minutes walk, so that there used to be good market for professional working people. And these clientele preferred furnished. It didn’t use to be this way prior to covid.

The agency has had a few viewings in these past days. Hopefully something comes out of that.

Thanks @ darrencarthy807 for your suggestion.

That is a really good idea, I’ll be trying that out next week to hear the agencies viewpoint on this. I could learn one or more things out of this, thank you!