Poor broadband hampers rural letting header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A new survey conducted by estate agent Savills has found that slow rural broadband can seriously hinder the progress of renting property in the worst-affected areas.

Over 70 per cent of those surveyed said that poor broadband connectivity made it harder to rent out residential properties. In addition to this, 80 per cent claimed that unreliable or slow internet access was a hinderance when it came to letting commercial properties.

Ben Knight, director of Savills Rural, said: “Broadband speed is now generally one of the first topics raised by prospective tenants who are looking to rent some commercial office space  in a rural area. Where it is poor vacant periods are often longer and in some cases there is no demand for a building however good the space and other facilities are. And with more people choosing to work from home for at least part of the week it is becoming a more common question from prospective residential tenants.”

To ensure that their properties are not left empty, some landlords are being forced to lower the rents where there is substandard broadband access, particularly if tenants want to work remotely.

As a result of the loss of income they are experiencing, some landlords are taking matters into their own hands and applying for government grants to create their own high-speed networks.

In August, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a ten-point Rural Productivity Plan that it said would “unlock the potential of the countryside”. One of its pledges was to ensure that 95 per cent of the UK had access to superfast broadband by 2017, and coming up with a subsequent plan to connect the remaining five per cent.

However, a growing number of residents and landlords do not believe this is fast enough, and are looking at alternative solutions such as satellite broadband.