> How to keep your tenants happy (and your property
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
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.
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.
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!
Go beyond your legal obligations.
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.
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.
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.
Reward long-stay tenants.
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.
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.
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.
find your next tenant CLICK
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