The key drivers of a successful letting strategy are finding and retaining quality tenants. Having to deal with damaged property or initiating action for breach of lease/repossession can be expensive. Similarly, frequent tenant turnover and increased void periods have a detrimental impact on yields. And, all of this is before the “hassle" of dealing with such matters. A successful tenant strategy comes from diligent process and great communication by both Landlord and Letting Agent. Any such strategy should also follow the law and ensure that tenants are treated fairly and without prejudice. Here are our top tips to ensure you are successful.
Finding Great Tenants
- Presentation - ensure the property presents well and remember that first impressions last. Ensure the asking rent is appropriate for the property condition and market factors. Also consider reading our blog on getting your property ready for letting https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/46-get-yourself-and-your-property-ready-for-letting
- Affordability - make sure that the tenant can afford the rent. A rule of thumb is that a tenant’s gross income should be at least 2.5 x the annual rent.
- Tenant checks - research by the Residential Landlords Association shows that where no tenant checks are undertaken, landlords are seven times more likely to end up in court proceedings with their tenant. Also, use social media; only about 1 in 10 landlords (or their agents) take the time to reference tenants by searching on social media despite the wealth of public information that might be available.
- Safeguards - If for any reason, you think you are making a “marginal decision”, then take appropriate measures to protect your position including adequate deposits, guarantors, rental insurance, detailed condition reports etc.
- Don’t rush - do not be tempted to force a square peg into a round hole. If the property isn’t right for the tenant, or the tenant isn’t right for the property, the best advice is not to proceed. Over the longer term, forcing a square peg into a round hole seldomely ends well.
Retaining Great Tenants
Research by Axa insurance suggests that, other than a change in personal circumstances, three top reasons why tenants leave is because of a lack of property maintenance, having a poor relationship with the landlord and the cost/rent of the property becoming too high. To keep great tenants;
- Be responsive - deal with issues in a timely manner and communicate, communicate, communicate. Logging a fault on a website, or sending an email or a text etc is great – but, people like to talk and be listened to. Build a relationship based on dialogue and trust.
- Be fair - renting a property is not a zero-sum game and a tenant is more likely to stay if they feel they are being treated fairly. This includes being reasonable with rent increases.
- Maintenance - landlords have a legal obligation to maintain their property but, doing so in a timely manner, and to an appropriate standard, will demonstrate you care about the tenant’s well-being. If a landlord demonstrates an attitude of neglect for the property, then there is every chance that the tenant will act in a similar way.
- Personalisation - consider allowing the tenant to make some personal changes, such as putting up shelves or painting a room. Small changes made by the tenant will increase their emotional attachment to the property. (The tenancy agreement should require the tenant to return the property to the same condition as they received it, allowing for wear and tear).
- Little extra’s - provide the “little extras” such as the Aspire tenant toolkit, a “moving in” welcome card etc. These small things go a long way to demonstrating that you care about the property and about the tenant.
If you are getting ready to rent a property in the private rented sector then please refer to our blogs on legal requirements:
and also on landlord best practices https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/46-get-yourself-and-your-property-ready-for-letting
Please also refer to our section on questions we are frequently asked by landlords https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/38-landlord-frequently-asked-questions