Why landlords need to consider tenants who work from home

Working from home is becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon as people all over the UK choose to shun the daily commute.

Overcrowded trains, high parking costs, traffic congestion and the stress often involved in travelling into work are all reasons why one in seven Britons opt to turn their home into an office.

It’s something that landlords in West Lothian should bear in mind and, if necessary, act upon. Here’s why…

Roughly 4.2 million workers now do their jobs without leaving the confines of their house, an increase of 800,000 over the last decade. Rapid advances in technology have made this lifestyle more achievable than ever. With a decent internet connection, businesses and individuals can be in constant contact with each other from almost any location.

For many, working from home is mutually beneficial – it might be a mother looking for flexible work to fit around childcare, it might be someone in sales, or a freelance writer or designer who has no need to be in the office on a daily basis.

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Employers, appreciating the advantages of flexible working, are now allowing a rising number of employees to work from the comfort of their home.

As a result, the pool of tenants who have a home office high on their list of priorities is also on the up, which means it can sometimes be wise for landlords to accommodate this desire if possible.

It doesn’t take much time, effort or money to create an area where people can get on with their work in a productive manner. Spare rooms, in particular, can easily be converted into home offices.

Most people like to work at a desk, even if they’re working from home. As well as this, storage space for files, books or other work-related products can be a sensible addition. This might be tricky to achieve if the space you’re working with is tight, but with some innovation and clever thinking it is possible. Lamps, plants and an office chair will also help to transform a suitable room into a pleasant working environment.

It also seems inevitable that anyone working from home will require fast and easy Wi-Fi access to the internet. Most tenants in this day and age will have good broadband connectivity as one of their top priorities, for those working from home it will be absolutely vital.

For this market, if your rental property is unable to provide this, it’s likely that tenants will look elsewhere. Depending on the nature of the job, phones could also play an important role for someone working from home. With this in mind, it can be helpful to ensure there are plenty of phone and electrical sockets.

Lastly, consider the impact of lighting. People are unlikely to work well or be very productive in poorly-lit, gloomy rooms. If you can get natural light streaming in from a window, all the better; if this isn’t possible, artificial lighting is a good substitute. But make sure these lights aren’t too bright, as this could also be off-putting.

As the number of people working from home continues to rise, it can sometimes be to a landlord’s benefit to offer a dedicated working space. It certainly won’t do any harm to the appeal of the property you are looking to let. At the same time, it can be helpful to accommodate alternative uses for such rooms in case home working is not a priority for particular tenants.

Landlords should consult insurance and mortgage providers, as well as their lease agreement provider, where a tenant plans significant or full-time periods working from home to ensure that this is taken into account in the tenancy and other documentation. Where working from home arrangements involve clients visiting the rental property, this should normally be ruled out.

You can get in contact with Letting Solutions, West Lothian’s first dedicated letting agents, on 01506 496006, where our team of experts will be on hand to give you advice, information and guidance.

If you would like to know how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace, check out our handy instant online valuation tool.