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Brexit hits rental market as number of EU nationals plummets

An analysis of the rental market in England has revealed a dramatic drop in the number of EU nationals taking up tenancies.

The proportion of EU tenants living in England has decreased since 2017 - so from just after the EU Referendum - as the demographics changed

PropTech platform Goodlord has analysed an England-wide sample of 300,000 rental tenancy agreements signed between January 2017 and November 2020.   


From January 2017 to November 2020 the proportion of EU renters in England fell from 20 per cent to 14 per cent of all tenants.

International tenants from non-EU countries are also down, from 13 per cent to 11 per cent. 

As a result, the proportion of renters with UK citizenship rose from 66 to 74 per cent.

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

By the end of 2020, the proportion of EU tenants had fallen a further two per cent to 14; International residents dropped one per cent to 11 per cent of the total.

The biggest impact has been on London.

During 2017, the average proportion of London tenants originally from EU countries stood at 29 per cent. In 2020, EU tenants accounted for just 22 per cent of London residents.

Tom Mundy, chief operating officer of Goodlord, comments: “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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  • George Dawes

    I wonder how much this pointless and obvious survey cost the tax payers?


    Try reading the beginning of the article before issuing fake news.

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    As usual a rather poor analyses, with quite a few holes.
    A reduction in EU tenants over the years can also have some such tenants returned, but many would have applied for UK citizenship.
    Some would have bought their own houses exiting tenancies.
    The same applies to non-EU tenants, who if refugees or migrant workers may have acquired, UK right to reside.
    Another factor is the wording of the survey questionaire and the understanding of respondents of the survey questions.
    What effect has the loss of nearly 100K lives on this??
    Finally has the housing crisis eased?? Possibly slightly?

  • George Dawes

    We leave Europe and there’s less Europeans renting in the uk

    Wow , you don’t have to be Einstein to work that one out , 😂


    We haven't left Europe, just the union

    Algarve  Investor

    But it is now far more difficult to trade with Europe, to visit Europe (even once the pandemic subsides), to bring things back from Europe. We have literally cut off our nose to spite our face, by making links with our closest neighbour that much weaker.

    I hope people who still think they can go on booze cruises and easily take their pets on holiday, or retire abroad with ease, realise that none of these things are now the case.

    Yes, there probably will be bespoke arrangements eventually between the UK and places like Spain, France, Portugal, etc, but for now it's a total mess, as is being shown with disrupted supply lines and issues in NI.

    Even basic things like wanting to watch Amazon Prime, Now TV, Britbox or Netflix while on your holiday has become impossible or much more difficult. It's only because the major phone providers don't want to shoot themselves in the foot that they haven't brought back roaming tariffs, but there's no guarantee of that long-term.

    Everything is now much more difficult because of Brexit. I'd argue we have left Europe, sticking two fingers up to our neighbours, to get back mythical full control of our borders and seas. The fishermen have been sold out, SME businesses have been sold out, the financial services industry has even been sold out. And all for what? Blue passports? An unholy mess.


    Algarve investor. I can normally visit the USA and a host of other countries without any problems, so why would it be difficult to visit Europe. The fact is, it isn't. It's good to see you have got over Brexit and are not still bitter.

    Algarve  Investor

    @Gordon Brown - yes, you're right, I am still bitter. We've all been made poorer (culturally, economically and on the global stage) as a result of Brexit and the thinnest of thin deals agreed in a panic so Boris could say he got Brexit done. We are in no way better off, unless you can point me to some examples. Everything is now much more difficult.

    Your namesake recognised Brexit for the disaster it was - more should have listened to him. We had a fantastic deal - our own currency, access to the single market and customs union, freedom to live, work and settle in 27 other countries, an opt-out and rebate, part of Erasmus and scientific and cultural institutions. There's plenty of vaccine nationalism at the moment, but it's important to note that many of the programmes were pan-European in nature.

    Was it perfect? No. Nothing ever is. But it was a damn sight better that what we have now. The first trade deal in history that put up barriers. Rotting fish and meat at borders. Businesses tearing their hair out at all the extra paperwork.

    Yes, holidays to Europe will be the same - although a couple of years down the line you might need a visa - but don't try and bring anything to or back from Europe without expecting checks. As the Dutch border guards who went viral said, it's because of 'the Brexit'. If you want to live or work in the EU, 10 times more difficult. If you want to retire there, much more difficult.

    So yes, I will always be bitter about Brexit and how a narrow vote in an advisory referendum took over the country and the political class, while the deal didn't take into account the millions of Remainers or those Leavers who hadn't voted to leave our biggest single trading place and partner. That wasn't on the ballot paper, was it?

    Maybe you could provide some real-life, tangible benefits to Brexit in the short, medium or even long-term?

    Daniela Provvedi

    @Algarve Investor I was a remainer. I didn't want Brexit to happen because I didn't want the EU to lose the UK. It's the EU who's going to suffer without the UK, not the other way around. You watch, once the UK starts doing well again (and it will), the EU will start falling apart. Other EU countries will also want to pull out, starting with Italy and Hungary.
    The EU has never worked for us normal people. Banking was never integrated, neither was the health system. The EU's bureaucracy is a joke, and let's not speak about their health & safety. I love driving in the EU with my GB number plate, I never get any fines! They didn't even get that right!

    I've read your Profile, Algarve Investor, you seem to be based half your time in Portugal and the other in the UK? We all knew Brexit was going to happen for years, and sorry to ask you (you don't have to answer) but just wondered why you didn't apply for Portuguese citizenship?

    I'm Italian, and have been living in the UK since 1989, over 30 years. I've studied here, got my MBA, worked, paid my taxes, am a LL with multiple properties, etc, etc. and when I was given the opportunity to get my Settled Status in the UK, I grabbed it with both hands. I now have one foot in the EU and one in the UK. Just wondered, why didn't you?

    Fair enough, I can't travel with my dog, nor bring back a whole lot of booze when I return from the EU, but at least I've still kept a lot of that freedom of moving back and forth as I please.

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    I believe that European Tenant's have until 1st April to apply for UK citizenship. After that, we are not allowed to retain them as Tenants. This has not been widely advertised yet, but I fear that there will be quite an exodus as the tenant has to pay quite a lot of money and is not an easy test to pass. Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong?

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    In east if England I've seen a 30% drop in euro tenants and rents fall by 15% on the typical rentals they took, loads of brexit blind landlords scratching there heads wondering why?? Numpties.

    Algarve  Investor

    Yes, many people don't seem to realise that Brexit has major consequences across all parts of life. I had to laugh at Sam Allardyce, a Leave voter, who was complaining that he couldn't sign players because of Brexit! And a British couple, who voted Leave and then moved to Spain, who were complaining about a lack of access to Sky TV post-Brexit.

    These are just the small things, there are many more larger and more devastating things that are badly affecting small businesses and even some larger ones. The extra paperwork, the extra costs to absorb. One of the reasons to leave the EU was excessive red tape and bureaucracy, but now we have more of it than ever!

    And all those in Dover who voted Brexit who are now unhappy at the place being turned into a massive lorry park. Again, you couldn't make it up!

    And I'm still yet to hear one advantage, one thing we can now do that we couldn't do, because of Brexit.


    I'm in Norfolk, eastern England, rents are holding up well and increasing slightly, no shortage of applicants when a property does become available either, what part of eastern England are you in ?

  • George Dawes

    I think we’ve all been sold a pack of lies , what do you expect when you’re dealing with politicians ?

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    The analysis is flawed taken from Jan 2017 - Nov 2020. A better analysis would be from say 2013-2020.
    Without spending all the time that Goodlord seem to have I can explain simply with this elevator pitch.

    2013-2016 Ever increasing amounts of free movement transient EU citizens moving to UK because our economy was higher than theirs putting immense load onto housing & infrastructure that wasn't even there to be able to cope with & annoying the indigenous pop at the same time.
    At any given moment they could leave the UK (and they did) its all part of the free movement deal no commitment to supporting the country. We are left in a flux. We didn't know who was here or wasn't. Our schools all of a sudden had to cope with non speaking english (from many nations not just EU) Our surgeries couldnt cope with the additional demand (still cant)

    2016-2019 Leave win the Referendum. EU citizens felt unsettled because the Gov or EU couldn't reach an agreement so they started to leave. Its their prerogative remember free movement no commitment to the country.

    2020- CoronaVirus - No work, Stay at home - Hang on I might as well go back to Europe and be with my family if I've got no means of income.

    All of a sudden we have housing spare. Doesnt take a genius to work this out.

    There you go. In future If we need workers then we will request them & issue visas just like every other country in the world!

    Daniela Provvedi

    I think you've knocked the nail on the head there, Jahan. I agree.

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    There is no shortage of Housing how many more times do i say it, never mind just Build more & more high rise multi story, convert every Office Space to residential, Convert Industrial Buildings to Residential, Convert all the Closed down Shops to Residential even in the High street, Build on every piece of Land that catches your eye, Convert or Build Loft Extensions by the millions, any Factory that goes Bust don't worry about Jobs Build Residential, every Garage / Filling Station close it down Build residential, All Commercial Build residential but give them Grants and special incentives to Build more unwanted residential the Media says it so must be right, morans etc etc,...


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