It's fair to say landlords haven't had it easy over the past four or five years.
Legislative changes, including the huge impact caused by amendments to taxation and mortgage interest relief, have slowly chipped away at many landlords' profits.
And while further regulations regarding Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), tenant fees and gas and electrical safety are welcome, staying compliant means a huge amount of extra work for landlords - especially those who self-manage.
However, rays of light have been emerging through the dark clouds for landlords in Chelmsford.
While much of the UK sales market has slowed since the EU referendum of 2016, rents have risen consistently in many areas, including Chelmsford.
UK average rents
In the 12 months to February 2019, average rents in the UK rose by 1.1%, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
And if you remove London from that figure, where rents have stagnated at +0.2% on year, the UK's average rent rise is a very healthy 1.5%.
Chelmsford average rents
In Chelmsford, though, those skies are even brighter.
The city has enjoyed well above average rental growth over the past 12 months, with the average monthly rent now at £938, according to Dataloft Inform.
That's a 4% rise on the previous 12 months compared with 0.82% growth across the East of England as a whole.
While 63% of properties in Chelmsford rented over the past 12 months were flats, semi-detached properties (+6.21%) and detached family homes (+6.73%) both showed major growth in rental prices.
One in three Britons would 'rent for life'
With 47% of tenants in Chelmsford aged between 18 and 29, it's clear that the so-called Generation Rent form a huge percentage of tenants in our city.
However, while much has been made of how renters in this age bracket are priced out of buying property, a new survey by interiors company Hillarys reveals fresh evidence that many UK tenants are renting because they want to
Indeed, the Hillarys study found that one in three UK tenants would be happy to rent for the rest of their lives!
A huge 43% of the 2,000 tenants questioned said they had been renting for six-to-10 years, with just over half saying they were happy renting rather than buying.
The pros of renting
While 27% of those questioned by Hillarys said they were renting due to high property prices, 39% cited the flexibility of renting as their main reason for doing so.
And given the 'job for life' era enjoyed by parents of Millennials is now all but over, flexibility is key for the 18-30 generation.
Being able to move quickly when that new, lucrative job offer comes along is crucial for the younger generation and buying and selling property can be too long a process for many.
Millennials, too, appear less inclined to tackle the maintenance and upkeep that comes with owning your own home, preferring, instead, to rent and see major work taken care of by a landlord.
Don't believe the headlines (all of the time)
It would be easy to conclude that renting is simply a last resort for those who can't afford to get on the property ladder - at least if you believe what you read in the newspapers.
But renting has very quickly become a lifestyle choice for a generation used to home-based working, starting their own businesses and climbing the corporate ladder.
And all of those things require flexibility, which is exactly what renting can provide.
For landlords, they should concentrate on providing quality accommodation with everything required for the modern renter.
By that we mean comfortable living space, an office and even a WiFi connection included in the rent.
The demand for rental properties is showing no signs of slowing down.
But the demands and standards expected from renters in 2019 have arguably never been higher, so making sure your property stands out and is equipped for the modern tenant is hugely important.
Chelmsford lettings agents
Speak to our team of Chelmsford lettings experts if you are thinking of renting out your property, or simply need some guidance and advice on how to make your buy-to-let stand out.