For landlords, attracting and then retaining tenants is of crucial importance. After all, a property without tenants is any landlord’s worst nightmare.
To avoid those dreaded void periods, the landlord-tenant relationship needs to be friendly and resilient. Good tenants will look after the property like it’s their own, pay you their rent on time and have no unreasonable or excessive demands. They will, however, expect their landlord to be kind to them in return.
If you can keep your tenants happy, life as a landlord will be much easier. Happy tenants are also more likely to stay for the long-term, which means a stable, regular source of rental income – win-win!
We recently came across a report that backed up the importance of the landlord-tenant relationship. The study, conducted by buy-to-let lender Paragon Mortgages, found that 81% of tenants living in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) are satisfied with their current landlord. Meanwhile, 82% consider their rental property to be their home, while 70% believe the rent they pay is either good or very good value for money.
Furthermore, 57% of those surveyed said they have always been happy with the tenancy they have been offered, with 35% expecting to remain in the PRS for the long-term.
Obviously, this is just one report and the pool of tenants polled is too small to be wholly representative. Nevertheless, it’s a promising sign that landlords are appreciating the importance of keeping their tenants content.
There are a few things you can do to make this more likely. Firstly, be upfront and honest from the very beginning. An explicit rental agreement – outlining rent, utilities and the standards you expect your tenants to adhere to – should be signed by both parties and will reduce the chances of disagreements at a later date. And be clear on rules. If you don’t allow smoking or pets in your rental property, make sure your tenants know that.
Secondly, keep your property in tip-top condition. If it looks attractive and is fully functioning, it stands to reason that tenants won’t have much to complain about. Repairing things as and when they become an issue, and carrying out preventative maintenance to ensure potential problems don’t become real ones, will make your tenants feel house proud as well as giving you peace of mind.
Similarly, addressing complaints as quickly as possible will help to keep your tenants satisfied. As long as the demands aren’t unreasonable or ridiculous, reacting quickly will show them that you care and see them as a top priority. Problems will vary in severity, of course – a faulty boiler or a broken down fridge are much bigger emergencies than a malfunctioning lamp or a missing door handle. Still, tenants will expect you to deal with issues in a reasonable amount of time. Employing the services of a letting agent – who can deal with complaints and sort out repairs – will take away some of the stress and strain you might experience as a landlord.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, never take your tenants for granted. There will undoubtedly be a temptation to increase rents at times – particularly when demand in the PRS is booming, as it is currently. But good tenants probably won’t appreciate this. Offering them rent that is just below market rate could keep them in place as long-term tenants and save you plenty of money in turnover costs/possible void periods. Good tenants aren’t always easy to come by, so it makes sense to do all you can to keep hold of them for as long as possible.
The old adage rings true when it comes to being a landlord in West Lothian. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. If you do this, you’ll keep your tenants satisfied and will ensure that your properties are always tenanted.
If you would like more information about being a landlord or the lettings service we offer, please get in touch with Letting Solutions on: 0845 520 1420. In addition, we provide a free online property valuation tool to give you an accurate idea of how much your property is worth in West Lothian’s rental market.