Changes created by Brexit for fishermen and other food as well as manufacturing and retail businesses has been well documented in recent weeks, but now it’s the turn of the private rental market.

Analysis of 300,000 transactions completed since the referendum has revealed a dramatic drop in the number of EU nationals taking up tenancies across the country over the past four years as the UK has waited to exit the EU.

Completed by lettings platform Goodlord, the research shows a steady decline in the number of EU tenants; from January 2017 to November 2020 the proportion fell from 20% to 14% of all tenants, an overall decrease of 6%. Based on the 10 million people who rent in the UK, that’s 620,000 fewer.

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%.

Rental drop

The most dramatic drop in the proportion of rental arrivals from the EU took place from 2019 onwards, during which landlords saw a 2% drop. 

London, which has always had the largest EU population, saw its proportion of EU tenants drop from 29% to 22%. British nationals now account for 61% of all London tenants, up from 48% in 2017. 

tom mundy eu renters

“There was no mass exodus of EU citizens following the Brexit vote,” says Tom Mundy (pictured), COO of Goodlord.

“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.”

Read more: Hurdles EU citizens must clear to rent in the UK now.


  1. Great news.
    Now ideally about 4 million other EU nationals would return home.

    Then plenty of rental properties available for British Nationals.

    Perhaps it would also make business sense for LL to sell off with a reduced tenant demand.

    It has been MASS UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION that has made things difficult for British renters.

    Getting rid of EU nationals will greatly benefit the K economy.

    Plenty of British unemployed to do all the jobs migrants do.

    With a no longer inexhaustible supply of cheap EU labour British employers will have to start paying more than NMW and stop relying on WTC subsidies.

    If that means they can’t afford to be in business then it isn’t a viable business and should close down.

    Predicating business on cheap EU labour and Govt Welfare subsidy is over.

    Gratifyingly this is a Very welcome result of BrExit.

    Employers now have 4 million unemployed to choose from

  2. Agree with Paul on one thing, it will be good if UK employers have to pay living wages; that’s if they are still in business. The fishermen and the Scottish salmon exporters don’t seem to have had a good start to Brexit, do they?
    ‘Getting rid of’ people is not the sort of language I would hope to read on a serious comments page. Some of those EU nationals are friends and colleagues not numbers.
    Also, if you get out and about you will find that many of those EU nationals are doing skilled jobs and contributing to UK society; they are not ‘cheap labour’. Now we have a situation where UK nationals, in particular the young people who did not vote for Brexit, are denied work opportunities in the EU.
    And if the EU nationals should return home, should not also the UK nationals living in the EU return to the UK? Where will they all live? Given their age profile, what extra load on the NHS?
    The rental market is complex. Clearly fewer EU citizens in the UK has an impact, but so do working from home and inflated house prices, driven by government ‘subsidies’ such as stamp duty holidays.

  3. Totally agree with Paul Barrett. It’s not difficult to get residency abroad if you want to stay there, likewise legally in the UK. Also the UK government can now check on who, from where & what volumes of population are coming into the UK (e.g. criminals). Jobs will be available for the UK unemployed, businesses will have to train people again at last and offer apprenticeships. These workers will thus be able to afford to rent/buy property. The UK have depended too long on Europe and need to become self sufficient in all aspects (agriculture, farming, manufacturing, fishing etc.) once again.
    What with Covid 19 and it’s affect on the UK economy, l would think house prices would start to fall irrespective. There are always booms + busts in property markets. Things will be like in the 1980s and there were some good times… let’s hope the good times come back in this respect!


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