Rental demand falls as EU tenant numbers hits four-year low

There has been a sharp decline in the number of EU nationals taking up tenancies across the country since 2017, fresh research shows.

New analysis of the rental market in England reveals that the proportion of EU tenants living in England has decreased steadily over the last four years, as the impact of the Brexit vote shifted the demographics of the nation.

Goodlord analysed an England-wide sample of 300,000 rental tenancy agreements signed between January 2017 and November 2020. The data showed a steady decline in the proportion of tenants from the EU signing leases.

From January 2017 to November 2020, the proportion of EU renters in England fell from 20% to 14% of all tenants – an overall decrease of 6%.

International tenants from non-EU countries also fell; from 13% to 11%. As a result, the proportion of renters with UK citizenship rose from 66% to 74%.

By 2019, just 16% of all renters in England were from the EU. UK nationals accounted for 71% of tenants and those from non-EU countries 12%.

By the end of 2020, the proportion of EU tenants had fallen by a further 2% to 14%. International residents dropped by 1% to 11% of the total. As a result, the proportion of UK nationals rose to 74%.

This trend is even starker when looking at tenancies in London, where a large proportion of EU tenants opt to live.

During 2017, the average proportion of London tenants who were originally from EU countries stood at 29%. In 2018, this dropped to 24% and then further to 22.5% in 2019. In 2020, EU tenants accounted for just 22% of London residents – a total decrease of 7%.

Over the same four-year period, international tenants fell from 22% to 16% of the total.

British nationals now account for 61% of all London tenants, up from 48% in 2017.

Tom Mundy, COO of Goodlord, said: “There was no mass exodus of EU citizens following the Brexit vote. Instead, we’ve seen a steady but marked decrease in the number of people from the EU moving to England over the last four years. This trend has borne out across the whole of England, but particularly so in London, which had a higher number of EU tenants to start with.

“We saw a bump in numbers in 2018 just ahead of the two-year deadline, as those wishing to make England their home took what might have been their last chance. But, since then, each passing month has seen the number of people from Europe signing rental agreements steadily decline.”

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  1. RosBeck73

    Interesting piece of research with some new data. I would add that many landlords are no longer accepting foreign nationals as tenants because they invariably can’t get guarantors. With the current and sustained landlord-bashing by the Government, and various laws and regulations granting tenants long periods rent-free in landlords’ properties, a guarantor is a must. So, for example, there will be Erasmus students coming who can’t find a landlord willing to accept them as a tenant. Where will they stay? And what’s more, as this becomes more common knowledge, either Universities will have to stand as guarantors or people won’t come.

    1. spyguy62

      My god you screech absolute nonsense ros… UK is no longer part of the erasmus programme thanks to a bunch of selfish boomers, also EU students are now paying 3rd country charges so no more EU students. 

    2. biffabear

      Sounds about right.

  2. Doleboydave

    I just think landlords should refrain more from accepting EU nationals as tenants. Plenty of EU nationals here dont work or earn MW. What the Government should be doing is encouraging the EU nationals to go home as the jobs and homes are not here anymore and not rolling out the red carpet for them. More homes then can be freed up for British citizens who need housing as council houses are either non existent or in short supply. Landlords should work with councils to get tenants in. If they are on UC, ensure the rent is directly paid to the landlord from their benefits. Now we have left the corrupt EU, we should put our own country and people first for housing, health care, schooling, jobs etc.

    1. cmpd

      With all the respect for your opinion, allow me please to give a second one… I am going to speak about the reality where I live ,in a lovely small English town. Probably it is a different reality from where you live. I am an Eu National, what you call in UK a high skilled person. I came here invited by a Uk company due the lack of skilled people in my area. Most of my friends are English, but meanwhile I became friends with other EU Nationals. They don’t rent houses, they have already their own houses. They have rented in the past, true… but they are owners now and some of them Landlords too. Curiously the only people I know (in my group of acquaintances) that live in Council houses are British people with high salaries. High skilled people too. They started living there when the salaries were very low and they still live there now. Apparently, please correct me if I am wrong, there is no law, regarding council houses that says that you have to leave the house if your salary is superior to a certain amount. This law ..if real, would force people with high salaries (I am speaking about salaries above 40,000 per year) to move to a private rent or to buy their own houses. That would allow people with lower salaries to have access to council houses, them… if everything went well .. their life would improve and they would move to their own house too. In certain Eu countries you are not allowed to stay in a council house if your salary is above a certain amount.Theses houses are only for people with very low salaries.

      I just want to say that we are not all bad people or corrupts

      My country, your country unfortunately is like all the other countries in the world …we will always have good people and not so good people..

      I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone with my personal opinion..


      Thank you so much for allowing me to express mine.







      1. paulgbar666

        Nobody had a problem with highly skilled migrants from wherever they come from if they are needed.




        The NMW is 9 times that in the A8 countries.


        No surprise that migrants from the former Communist countries flooded into the UK.


        If the situation was reversed the Brits would have flooded over to the A8 countries.

        The UK borders need not have been opened even as A8 countries.

        Open borders were a political decision made by Bliar’s Labour Govt so as to rub the Right’s nose into diversity!


        That policy ultimately led to the Leave vote winning.

        If all of the immigration had been highly skilled migrants like doctors; nurses, engineers, scientists etc few Brits would have been concerned.


        Instead what happened is millions of low skilled dross came to the UK to take up low skilled positions displacing many Brits from their jobs as EU migrants were cheaper and were an inexhaustible Labour supply.


        Unfortunately the UK Welfare system is easy to abuse something that was quickly realised by the A8 migrant dross and employers.

        The UK is now better off having fewer low skilled migrants.


        This will lead to more rental properties being available for British Nationals.


        It is a national disgrace that about 440000 EU migrants currently occupy social housing.

        These should be for British Nationals.

        Those EU nationals should be booted out to go to the PRS and British Nationals to occupy those 440000 social homes.


        Skilled migrants where needed are welcome to the UK if they pass the points based migration system.


        There is currently still far too much rental supply..


        LL need to sell off which many are doing.

        There are many logical reasons why LL should be selling off.

        It is highly unlikely that LL would wish to let to UC tenants so it makes no difference.

        There is no shortage of properties to buy.

        LL selling off properties which just add to already sufficient supply won’t make them anymore affordable.


        There will be far fewer rental properties and many more UC tenants shunned by most LL.


        BrExit has been the best thing to happen to the UK in the past 40 years.

        We are now unshackled from a bankrupt and corrupt EU regime.


        We are not out of Europe just the EU.

        1. spyguy62

          More nonsense from full time troll Paul b

          1. paulgbar666

            OK please respond to each paragraph I have stated and tell me how you believe I am incorrect.


            I can assure you anything you state will be wrong because what I have stated is correct

            Stating facts is hardly trolling!!

            1. SV11

              “If all of the immigration had been highly skilled migrants like doctors; nurses, engineers, scientists etc few Brits would have been concerned” – Is this a fact?

               “millions of low skilled dross came to the UK to take up low skilled positions displacing many Brits” – a large majority of what you call a “dross” have high education diplomas who chose to work overseas carrying out low skilled work for higher wages.

              “The UK is now better off having fewer low skilled migrant” – How?
              “440000 EU migrants currently occupy social housing. Those EU nationals should be booted out to go to the PRS and British Nationals to occupy those 440000 social homes” – which one is it then?
              Here’re some stats for you from total social housing stock occupied by tenants that were born outside of the UK (EU and ROW included) – 4.4%. Poland is the only country from A8 to feature in top 26 countries where social hosing tenants were born. Even then their entry is quite low, on par with India, SA and Canada and just slightly behind SH tenants that were born in USA, France and Australia.

              Still EU, A8 or Blair’s fault for housing situation in UK?

              Honestly, I could go on

    2. Italian_agent

      I have never read something so wrong and unrealistic.

      As my nickname says, I am Italian and I have been in the industry 10 years now, working mainly in London within zone 1 to3. In my experiences 90% of the DSS and Universal Credit tenants as well as people in line for housing (expect the last year with Covid19)  were Brits, most of them born and raised here or naturalized here with British passport, and the remaining were political/economical refugees from countries like Syria, Afghanistan or Ethiopia, Eritrea … very rarely I saw a European claiming DSS/UC or “free housing” from the Council.

      The reality is in UK happened what in Italy for example happened 20 years ago. Romanians and Albanians were coming to Italy “stealing jobs”  and getting same rights of Italians, in reality they were getting the jobs that Italians didn’t want to do for even a cheaper salary. I don’t know outside London, but here the high majority of EU citizens are employed in hospitality or construction, I have never seen a Brit behind the counter of Starbucks, simply because a Brit wouldn’t do it. Why chose work 60 hours a week for 8 quid per hour when I can do nothing and claim DSS?

      Then there are people with “particular” skills, I can give you the example of qualified nurses, most of them Spanish, Polish, Italians or from Asia (at least in London)  just a few Bits … why? because you need to study first and work hard after. Things that Brits doesn’t like to do.

      This idea that Brits should come first can be right until certain extent, people who contribute to society in any way (not necessary just working) should come first, no matter if they are British or EU citizens … and believe me, London (and UK in general) needs EU tenants much more than EU tenants need London (or UK).

      1. paulgbar666

        You are of course absolutely correct that the welfare system in the UK provides for a rather nice workless lifestyle.
        Indeed welfare claimants are in the upper 25% of income earners.
        That of course isn’t the fault of the migrant. Feckless welfare claiming Brits have been a major issue for over 50 years now. Low wage jobs will never attract welfare claimants who are permitted to sit on their **** doing nothing. But now that migrants cannot readily access the UK labour market it will be interesting to see whether Govt allows the feckless to do sod all when there are plenty of low wage jobs around.   But it should be remembered that students used to do the jobs migrants did. There are more than enough unemployed to do most of the low wage jobs but Govt allows them to get away with not working.   Personally I would introduce work conscription. You either find your own job or be conscripted into one. A forced workfare if you will. Feckless unemployed are a major drain on Govt finances.  

  3. biffabear

    In my part of London, British tenants, was probably only 20% of the tenants.

    In the last year or two, EU tenants are definately on the decline.

    In the last, covid – year, tenants are drying up, completely with the lack of commuters.

    1. paulgbar666

      Out where I am near Stansted EU migrants are about 75% of the market.
      If they go there will be a massive oversupply of rental properties.
      Even now there are too many rental properties.
      LL need to sell off and deleverage for much reduced demand.
      Doing so will make LL far more resilient for the future.

  4. MicheleDouglas

    The dynamics of development is frightening. As with the economic situation, after COVID 19 the decline in the rental market increased and the average earnings in England decreased. But there is hope for a revival of the market.


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