We spend a lot of time as landlords thinking about how well our investment is performing, and how to get the best tenants to occupy our property. But do we spend enough time once we have a good tenant, thinking about how to keep them?
After all, the biggest landlord expense (other than your mortgage!) after maintenance & repairs, is void periods. If you have good tenants looking after your property, and paying the rent on time, you'll want to keep them! Here's our top tips on how to hang on to your best tenants.
1. Prompt Repairs
By being proactive with property maintenance and routinely performing property inspections, your tenant may be more likely to agree to a contract renewal or extension at the end of their fixed term. Few things are more frustrating for a tenant than having unaddressed maintenance requests. You want to show them that you want to give them a nice place to live. This can be a big deciding factor when your tenant is considering a renewal.
Keeping up with maintenance and addressing issues quickly will help you spend less time on repairs when you do need to put the property back on the market.
Regularly inspecting the property condition will help you stay on top of maintenance jobs that need to be addressed (that the tenant may not have noticed) and can help keep smaller maintenance tasks from turning into larger issues.
2. Be Human
Treat tenants fairly and with respect and you can expect the same treatment in return. Part of this is communication and co-operation; things like - if your tenants have young children, consideration of this when booking tradesmen to visit, ensuring it won't be at the little one's nap time!
3. The 'Forever Home' Effect
Not all tenants want to stay put for the long term. After all, that's one of the reasons that many choose to rent; so that they have the flexibility to move more often. But for those that do want to stay put for the longer term, some of the ways we can encourage that is to remember that whilst it is your asset, the property is your tenant's HOME. So things like allowing putting up pictures (I give all incoming tenants a pack of Command strips on move-in day!), allowing them to paint with prior approval, and making other small adjustments where possible to give your tenants that feeling of having all their creature comforts.
4. Don't Intrude
We need to remember as landlords that the tenant has the right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the property. In short, this means that the landlord must not interfere (or allow anyone else to interfere) with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property, even if you deem it to be for a good reason. By law, you must give at least 24 hours’ notice of any intention to enter the property and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and you need immediate access. You must ALWAYS have your tenant's express permission to enter, even when you have your own key. If the tenant refuses entry, you must try to rearrange any appointment at a time to suit them.
This one is becoming more apparent as we enter the colder months, but one that is front and centre in my own mind as we recently had a small hiccup with the gas supply to one of our properties. If in doubt, take boiler cover out! Or at least make sure it is included as part of your landlord's insurance.
The benefit of taking out separate cover is that you can leave the emergency call-out number with your tenants so that they can get help with emergencies any time of the day or night. It is never okay to leave them without heating or hot water in the colder weather, so make sure you have a plan in place should the worst happen.
Surveys have shown that tenants often stay longer in fully managed properties; not because they prefer dealing with an agent, but because landlords have their own lives which can sometimes interfere with even the most organised.
If you need any help at all with your property management, or just want to find out more about about how I can help, give me a call now on 01268 955001.