Could rising self-employment spell trouble for the rental market?

Could rising self-employment spell trouble for the rental market?

  • Record rise in solo self-employment projected for 2021
  • Number of self-employed women has risen by 57% in past 10 years
  • Housing Hand offering solution for both landlords and self-employed renters

More people than ever are leaving the traditional 9-5 behind and going down the self-employed route instead. Towards the end of 2019, self-employed workers in the UK surpassed the five million mark for the first time. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), it is women who are driving the growth, with the number of self-employed women rising by 57% in the past decade (compared to 25% for men).

Meanwhile, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has projected a ‘record rise in solo self-employment’ in 2021.

While some individuals have been forced into self-employment through Covid’s impact on the jobs market, IPSE’s research has found that many of those opting out of working for someone else have done so for positive reasons.

“We have also found they are going into self-employment for overwhelmingly positive reasons like having more freedom to choose where they work (83% of freelancers said this was a factor), when they work (84%) and having a better work-life balance (73%).”

Inna Yordanova, Senior Researcher, IPSE

So far, so positive, but being self-employed has wider implications than just work/life balance. Chief among these is the difficulties that self-employed individuals can sometimes experience in accessing rental properties.

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has been working with self-employed renters for years. Around 15% of those who have asked the company to act as a guarantor since 2018 have been self-employed.

There’s no denying it can be trickier to access rental accommodation when you’re self-employed but it’s just a question of being prepared. Landlords, quite rightly, need to know that their tenants can afford a long-term commitment to renting the property. For self-employed renters, this may mean providing some form of extra reassurance, such as a guarantor.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

As a rental guarantor service, Housing Hand is able to guarantee the rent for the whole of the tenancy – precisely the kind of reassurance that landlords need. Having this service in place can avoid situations where landlords ask for six months’ rent upfront (or more).

“For landlords, having to arrange to get six months’ rent upfront is far from ideal, and for many renters, it’s just too big an ask. With the number of self-employed people rising, we need strategies and solutions in place that provide both landlords and tenants with solutions to ensure that renting a home is a smooth and hassle-free process.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information, please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit