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articles > How to keep your tenants happy (and your property earning money)
Article > How to keep your tenants happy (and your property earning money)


Article kindly supplied by Upad.co.uk


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Filling a void property quickly is important, but an even easier way to keep your property portfolio earning you money is to keep the tenants you’ve already got. In the UK, the average tenancy lasts for just 16 months; in London, that figure’s down to just under 12 months. Such a fast turnover is expensive for landlords; not only do you have the potential to lose rent between tenancies, but there is cleaning, redecorating, advertising and all that paperwork to deal with.

Keeping your existing tenants happy is crucial. You can’t, obviously, stop those who need to move to a new area, but you should never allow a situation where tenants move on because they’re unhappy with the property, or with the service you’re providing. Much of this boils down to common sense: treat your tenants like your customers, treat landlordery like a business. Here are our top tips for keeping your tenants happy and settled.

1. Treat your tenants like you’d want to be treated yourself.

Some landlords seem to think that every tenant is just waiting to rip them off, to ruin their property and to run off without paying the rent. If you’re suspicious of your tenants, they’ll be suspicious of you. If this starts from the beginning of your relationship, you won’t keep a tenant long-term: we’ve heard of landlords demanding to see tenants’ bank statements before they’re allowed to move in, for example. Consider if you’d show your bank statement to someone you didn’t know? Thought not! Having an open and friendly but professional relationship with your tenants will make the life of the tenancy run smoothly, and should keep your tenant with you long-term.


2. If a tenant’s leaving, find out why.

Is it a problem you can solve? If there are issues with the property itself, then try to work with the tenant to resolve the problem, rather than allowing them to move on. If they need a larger or smaller property, you might have something else in your portfolio that would suit them better. But you won’t know unless you ask. And even if it’s something you can’t resolve for this tenant, it might help you next time.


3. During the life of the tenancy, treat your property as your tenant’s home.

You can’t just turn up unannounced: that leaves you open to accusations of harassment by your tenants. Make sure you take reliable references at the beginning of the tenancy so that you feel confident your tenants will look after their home, and you can leave them to quiet enjoyment of it. If you do need to inspect the property for maintenance issues, make sure this is explained properly to your tenants: you’re checking up on the guttering and the drains, not on them! And give them plenty of notice about when you’re going to be there.

 

4. Be prompt and helpful about repairs.

Tenants who are cared for are more likely to stay. And accept that repairs are going to need to be done: one tenant told us recently, “my landlord always does repairs reasonably quickly, but he makes me feel like such a nuisance for contacting him, I’d almost rather not bother.” Tenants who feel like a nuisance won’t be staying long. It’s not unreasonable, after all, to want a working house!


 

5. Go beyond your legal obligations.

Landlords do have certain legal obligations to ensure their properties are kept in a decent condition, but take these as a minimum, not a maximum. Providing carbon monoxide detectors makes your tenant feel cared for, and costs just a few pounds. If you have more than one property, be prepared to shuffle furniture around so that people get what they need rather than what happened to be there when they moved in. Even in an unfurnished rental, provide curtains. Your tenants won’t magically have curtains that fit, and expecting them to purchase a full set for a rented home is unreasonable.


6. Be realistic about management time.

It’s tempting to try to save money by doing everything yourself. But being a landlord can be a 24/7 job. If you can’t commit to being available for your tenants at any hour of the day or night, or you live a long way from your properties, consider hiring a maintenance company to do the job for you. It needn’t be expensive: Upad offers full property management from just £60 + VAT per month. It’s a small price to pay to know that your tenants will be looked after properly.


7. Don’t automatically put the rent up.

Especially at the moment, when many of us are still feeling the credit crunch, automatically increasing the rent can be the last straw that makes your tenant move on. If average rents in your area haven’t changed much since last year, then consider keeping yours the same. And tell your tenants you’re doing that: they’ll certainly appreciate it.

 

8. Reward long-stay tenants.

We’ve heard of landlords offering all sorts of things to reward tenants who stay with them long-term, from gift vouchers, bottles of wine and flowers, to meals out and weekends away. What you choose to do will depend on your budget and your tenant, but some form of appreciation will make your tenant feel appreciated and so they will think twice about moving on.


9
. Rent doesn’t have to be paid monthly.

Tenants who are paid weekly may struggle to budget for monthly rental payments, and yet be great tenants in every other way. Consider accepting payments to fit in with their wages: having them pay you weekly or fortnightly will make everyone’s life easier. This goes double for tenants receiving LHA payments, who are paid on a 4-weekly cycle: by fitting your rent in with their benefit payments, you increase the chances of being paid in full, on time.


10. Redecorate – or let your tenants do it.

If it’s been a couple of years since your tenants moved in, the decoration’s probably in need of freshening up. Be prepared to do this. And if your tenants ask if they can decorate themselves – let them. Someone who’s spent time and money sprucing up their home is less likely to move on. You can always ask to see the paint first to make sure the ceilings aren’t going to be purple.

When you do need to find a new tenant, Upad can help: our Rental Property Marketing service lists your property on more than 500 UK websites for a one-off fee of just £59 (there are no extra fees when you find a tenant, and we don’t charge your tenants either). Visit www.upad.co.uk to find out more.

To find your next tenant CLICK HERE

 

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My Property Power Team recommends Upad, the UK's largest online lettings agent.

Upad sponsors of mypropertypowerteam

Upad's Rental Property Marketing helps you find a tenant for your rental property quickly and easily, by distributing your ad to over 500 top UK property websites. To find your next tenant CLICK HERE

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* Upad.co.uk generates on average 14 enquires per listing.

* Upad.co.uk has built the largest rental property marketing distribution network in the UK

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