This post was last updated on December 15th, 2021 at 03:59 pm
It’s important for landlords to understand what tenants want. What property features do tenants look for? What should landlords prioritise when purchasing a buy to let? What puts tenants off?
Some landlords find it tricky to know exactly what renters are looking for, while some tenants struggle to find a property that meets their needs. In this article, we cover the top features tenants want in a rental and what landlords can do to boost tenant interest.
#1 Good location
Location is a big priority for people looking to rent. Most people want to be within close proximity to local shops, amenities and transport links, as well as their workplace.
Of course, if you already have a rental property, you can’t change its location. However, when thinking about purchasing a buy-to-let, landlords should consider the location and what type of tenants it would appeal to.
Tenants don’t want to live too far from local amenities. This is especially true if they don’t drive and the transport links are limited. Having a supermarket, GP, pharmacy and other shops nearby is important, and school catchment areas are a big priority for families.
Location is a big deciding factor for tenants, so landlords should be sure to include all nearby amenities in the property advert description.
#2 Safety and security
Every tenant wants to feel safe in their home. Most people wouldn’t choose to rent a property in an area with a high crime rate, so location and safety often go hand in hand.
As well as the area’s crime rate, renters also like the reassurance of a working security system with alarms and sturdy locks on windows and doors. Because of this, ensuring the rental property has an operating security system is important for landlords to do.
As well as having a working security system, landlords can make their tenants feel safer by installing CCTV, adding extra locks and a peephole to the front door, and ensuring all safety certificates are in place.
Organising a mid-term inspection to view the property is also recommended for landlords to ensure everything in their property is in safe and working order. This also gives the tenant opportunity to raise queries or concerns they may have.
#3 Outdoor space
Many tenants enjoy having their own outdoor space – whether that be a garden, patio or balcony. If those options aren’t feasible, being near a local park is often a big attraction for tenants, especially those with young children.
Having outdoor space means tenants can enjoy the sunshine during the warmer months, host outdoor occasions for their family and friends, and enjoy a whole other area they can relax in. Since the pandemic, outdoor space has become particularly popular as people were confined to their homes for so long and realised how important it was to have that outside space.
If the property has a garden, updating and improving this space can attract more prospective tenants. This shows tenants that the landlord cares about the property and is willing to make changes. It also can increase the value of the property.
#4 Tenants want open-plan space
Open floor plans are increasingly popular. Nowadays, many properties feature an open-plan kitchen and dining area, making the smallest spaces feel a lot larger. This gives tenants way more flexibility, allowing them to set up as a dining room, lounge area or perhaps at-home office space. Open-plan spaces often work well for student lets and HMO properties with communal areas too.
Landlords can consider knocking down a wall in their kitchen or living area to make room for an open-plan space. Alternatively, if an open-plan layout isn’t an option, landlords can think about avoiding big pieces of furniture that may take up a lot of space in certain rooms.
Related article: How To Add Value To Your Home Or Rental Property
#5 Transport links and parking
Transport links are a big attraction for tenants – especially students and commuters. Of course, you can’t change the transport links in your area but you can certainly highlight them in your property advert. When purchasing a buy-to-let, transports links – along with the general location – are definitely worth considering. Nearby bus, tube, or tram stops will attract interest, and easy access to major roads is also a plus, especially in commuter towns.
For drivers, having a designated parking space is a must. If landlords have the room, giving tenants access to a parking space or garage will be much appreciated. Not only does this offer convenience, it provides added security by allowing tenants to be close to their car.
#6 Storage space
Having sufficient storage space is really important in any home, especially for those looking to rent long-term. Ample storage space means tenants don’t need to worry about storing their belongings elsewhere and won’t have to live in a cluttered space.
Maximising storage space is an effective way landlords can attract tenants. This could be clearing out a shed, putting a cupboard in unused space, or allowing tenants access to the attic.
#7 Fitted appliances
Properties that come with appliances, such as washing machine, oven and fridge, are extremely popular. Renters don’t want the hassle of buying costly appliances they may not need in the future. Appliances are used every day, so if you do include them in your rental, be sure to get decent quality items that will last.
Any appliances you provide should be in good working order. The newer the appliances, the better the energy rating is likely to be, meaning that tenants can expect to have lower bills too.
#8 Well-built and in good condition
Tenants want their homes to be in a decent state of repair. Recently built properties will likely be in better condition thanks to their age. They are also less likely to need any major repair work, which is definitely a plus for tenants. For buy-to-let landlords considering what type of property to buy, opting for a newer build or recently renovated home will likely attract more tenant nterest.
It’s important for landlords to ensure that the condition of their property is fit for tenants to live in. Landlords can start by updating parts of their property, such as doors, windows, walls, floors, and kitchen fittings. Small changes like repainting a wall, replacing door handles, or fitting a new tap can make a big difference. The bathroom installation, boiler and heating will also be important features for tenants.
#9 Natural lighting
Natural lighting can make a huge difference. Large windows and lots of light make a property feel more open and spacious, boosting its desirability for tenants.
Many modern properties are designed to make the most of the available lighting, so this is something buy-to-let investors can bear in mind. When advertising, Landlords should showcase any natural lighting in the photos they put on their advert.
Book a professional photographer.
#10 Home offices
As hybrid working grows increasingly popular, many renters are looking for at-home workspace.
A whole room is ideal, but if the layout of the property won’t quite work, home offices can be incorporated into kitchens, open plan areas, living spaces or larger bedrooms.
If a property has a large garden space, a garden building such as a cabin would work for a home office. This will increase the appeal and value of their property, and even if tenants don’t work from home, it will be extra space for them to use how they want.
Having a pet-friendly property is a big priority for pet-owners looking for a long term home. Often, people with pets struggle to find accommodation that will accept them. In 2020, government research found that just 7% of landlords advertised their properties as suitable for pets.
Announced earlier this year, the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill aims to make it easier for renters in England to keep pets. If passed, most landlords will have to accept pets for tenants who hold a certificate of responsible ownership, unless the property is exempt.
With less than one in ten rental homes advertised as pet friendly, properties can stand out if landlords choose to allow pets. Allowing pets encourages potential tenants to stay for longer, which can give the landlord much more financial security.
What do you look for in a property?
Tenants – what is a property feature that appeals to you when you view rental properties? Landlords – what features would you consider adding to your property to boost interest? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.