Renting out a house to good tenants who pay their rent on time, never cause a ‘fuss’ and don’t end up damaging the property makes the world of buy-to-let a happy place for landlords.
However, before we jump into how to best retain your tenants, let us take a quick look at how you’d go about renting your property out in the first place.
Preparation before renting out a house
Most disputes between landlord and tenant are about the state of the property at the end of the tenancy. Before renting out a house out be sure to have it cleaned to a professional standard, take loads of photos and if you can, have an independent inventory clerk write up the inventory. If you are not savvy with inventories, it definitely pays to have a professional one in the long run.
Make sure all utility companies are informed of the start and end dates of your tenancies. Even though the tenant can change suppliers without your explicit permission, it pays to keep them up to date with meter readings and helps prevent any future headaches chasing down tenants for unpaid bills.
You’ve got your Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate and checked the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning. You are well on your way!
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Finding great tenants
The property is prepared, you’ve got all your legally required documents at hand and you’re ready to rent out your property.
When renting out a house, we hope you’ve chosen to use our services to find a tenant. Fast forward a few days and the property has been advertised across all the main websites, we’ve taken a load of tenant enquires (you’ve met the tenants) we carried out references, drafted up the agreement, collected the first months rent and the deposit is secured! On a side note, our fastest let to date from advertising the property to the tenants moving in was 24 hours – and that was in December, historically the worst time to be looking for tenants.
Keeping your tenants happy
Obviously, it’s in your best interest to keep your tenants happy (A happy tenant is a happy landlord). If the tenant is unhappy, it is likely they’ll want to move and no landlord looks forward to having to find a new tenant every 6 to 12 months.
Void periods are nasty words in our vocabulary and if you find that your tenants aren’t renewing, it may be time to take a step back and work out what it is that’s not making them stay.
Naturally, there are more costs associated with having to get new tenants in compared to renewing, so to ensure your ‘nice’ tenants stick around, it may be worth doing a few simple things to ensure you maximise your rental year – year after year.
Our tips to managing your tenancy
- Good landlords often breed good tenants and regular open communication is key. Honest dialogue from the word go sets a precedent for resolving any issues no matter how small they may be. Although we’re not encouraging 24/7 communication, it’s worth ‘checking in’ with tenants via email, a call or text to show your caring side.
- We recommend regular property checks to see how your home, apartment or flat is looking. A landlord who cares about the property (and its upkeep) demonstrates to tenants that you’re a keeper! If it is a 6 month let, do an inspection 3 months in. For 12 month lets, every 3 to 6 month inspections are recommended. Remember to give ample notice before your visit. 24 hours in writing is the minimum.
- Don’t accept pets? It may be time to re-think. Results from a 2016 survey found that just over two-thirds (68%) of landlords would now willingly accept tenants with pets, with moggies being the most popular pet to pass the rent test.
- From our own research, we know that tenants are wanting longer rental periods, so rather than simply offering standard six or twelve-month tenancies, it is a good idea to offer longer options right from the word go. If tenants know that they can stay in one place for longer, they are often more likely to choose this option in order to feel more settled. We are signing up more 2 years agreements than ever before.
It’s when the tenant stops paying rent that the relationship breaks down. Under our Platinum Rent on Time package, we’ll pay your rent on time every month and take away the stress of having to deal with the legal eviction process and fees.
Of course, there are always reasons for moving on that are out of a landlords’ control but a few simple adjustments in your own personal customer service, which should start from the moment a tenant is shown around, can make the world of difference in keeping good tenants happy.
With renting being the more affordable option for so many people nowadays, there’s greater competition out there in the market place. Staying a step ahead of your landlord competitors makes just good landlord and business sense when renting out a house.
Take a look at our articles on the 10 best ways of finding a tenant for your rental property and we’ll unveil when is the best time of year to let a property.