A seemingly never-ending stream of new tenants is something every landlord wants to avoid. A long-term tenant is a much more attractive option!
This works both ways, as in recent years, due to sky-high house prices, more and more tenants are looking for a place to call home. So, how can you ensure they lay down their roots in your property?
Here’s how to encourage a long-term tenancy:
What Are the Benefits of Long-Term Tenants?
Why is a long-term tenancy the better option for landlords? As long as you’re receiving rent, does it really make a difference?
In fact, there are many difficulties when it comes to changing tenants. Recently, the economic climate and high house prices have seen the popularity of long-term contracts dramatically increase.
Here are the benefits of a long-term tenancy agreement:
No Rental Void Periods;
Every landlord wants to avoid the limbo between one tenancy and the next!
With long-term tenants, you won’t have to go without rent until the next tenancy begins. Your property won’t sit there empty for long periods of time!
Constantly changing contracts, sorting out deposits and repeating the welcome process over and over again can become tedious.
With long-term tenants, you’ll only have to do this once!
Long-term tenancies save the landlord money!
Repeatedly cleaning between each tenant and re-let fees can become costly.
Builds Up a Relationship;
It’s important to build up a strong relationship with your tenant.
This can’t be done if your property is solely let out without the opportunity for renewing. Getting to know your tenant and ensuring you can trust them takes time!
How to Make a Tenant Feel at Home
So, what can be done to ensure your next tenant will stay with you for the long-term?
The trick is to ensure that they view your property as their home.
Find the Right One
Finding the right tenant will ensure you secure they are committed to staying for the long-term so the tenancy vetting process is extremely important. Can you rely on them to look after your property and pay rent on time for the duration of their contract?
A tenancy screening will give you a closer look into what kind of tenant they are. You’re entrusting your property to them, so you need to ensure they’re reliable! Also, you’re hoping they’ll renew their contract, so getting as much background information on whether they’re responsible or not is a good idea.
Your letting agency should have a detailed vetting process and is a good idea for those looking to ensure the process is done as thoroughly as possible.
But for the landlords prepared to take the risk of vetting tenants themselves, here are some tips to help you:
Check their social media
Be thorough – ask for three months of payslips and bank statements
Consider asking for a guarantor
Meet them more than once
Invest in the Property
Don’t cut corners! Investing in the property through repairs both inside and out will save you money in the long term. Spend a little to save a lot! In the world of property, putting in the time for maintenance goes a long way. Give yourself peace of mind by putting money back into your investment! But, it’s not just external maintenance that’s important: Investing in some high-quality furniture is also a good idea, as this should need repairing less, and is therefore likely to save you money in the long-term.
Consider Furnished or Unfurnished
In Kidlington unfurnished is the norm and will attract less transient tenants. For some, such as millennials or first-time renters, a furnished property is more desirable, as it’s likely they won’t have the money to pay for the furniture themselves. On the other hand, unfurnished properties are often associated with longer tenancies! Tenants won’t want the hassle of moving in all their furniture if they’re planning to move out soon after. So, unfurnished properties are likely to attract those who are staying for the long-term. However, we have to mention that it is important to remember to keep all the necessary white goods such as a fridge and a washing machine. You should work out which option is the most attractive option for a potential tenant.
Let Them Make Their Mark
When trying to encourage a tenant to see your property as their home, allow them to make their mark. Giving them some free reign will help them to see it as their own! Whether this is simply a few furnishings or repainting a room, relaxing your control on the interior will encourage them to stay in the property for the long-term. You don’t want them to view the property as a short-term arrangement!
Many landlords are put off by the idea of allowing tenants to redecorate, as if the process goes wrong, it could end up being costly for the landlord. However, there are some ways around this! If a tenant wants to redecorate, inform them that if it needs undoing, it will come out of their deposit. Alternatively, you could discuss with your tenant what work they would like done to the property and arrange a professional to come in and do it. This way the tenant is happy and you can ensure the work is done to a high standard.
Also, there are some benefits to allowing tenants to redecorate, as it can encourage them to pay higher rent.
Allow Them to Keep Pets
We are a nation of pet-lovers! So, unsurprisingly, accepting pets encourages long-term tenants.
Some landlords are reluctant to accept pets because of potential damage to the property. However, there are many advantages to allowing pets into your property, such as:
A higher deposit (to mitigate risk)
Attracting more potential tenants
Tenants with pets are likely to be more responsible
Properties that allow pets are likely to be rented out quicker
Helps build a strong relationship with the tenant
So, while there are some inevitable drawbacks, it’s worth considering allowing your tenant to keep a pet. Be open to welcoming every member of the family! This will help your tenant to see your property as their home.
Make the Property Comfortable to Live In
Would you like to live in the property? Could the kitchen be made more spacious? Are there any areas of the property which are particularly cold? When it comes to the bedrooms, consider factors such as road noise and light pollution. Think about putting up black-out blinds if necessary. Viewing the property as if you were a tenant will help you understand it from a different perspective.
Hire a Gardener
A nice, well-kept garden is attractive to many tenants. But, most won’t want to have to maintain this themselves.
So, hiring a gardener is the perfect solution! This will also let tenants know you’re committed to regular maintenance and property upkeep.
Keep Regular Communication
A harmonious relationship between you and the tenant only has benefits for both parties! While it’s important not to be overbearing, you should ensure you keep in regular contact with your tenant. They should be able to feel they can report any problems to you and you should trust that they will do so.
Schedule regular visits, ensuring that you don’t turn up unannounced, to inspect your property and make sure it’s being taken care of. This will help you be seen as more approachable, as well as help you keep an eye on your property.
Work Out the Rent
Long-term tenants don’t deserve special treatment necessarily, however, it’s worth considering reasonable rent adjustments. If they’re considering staying in your property for a long time, ensure you have worked out how much rent to charge your tenant. Do your research! How much rent you ask for will determine the kind of tenants you attract. If the rent is unreasonable, you risk alienating your tenant and losing a renewed contract.
Fix Repairs Quickly
If something in the property goes wrong, respond immediately. It might not always be possible to get the problem fixed on the day, but ensure you have taken notice of it and that your tenant knows your dealing with it. Let them know you’re working to get it fixed as soon as possible! Keep them updated with the scheduled repairs and when someone will be able to fix the problem. Ignoring any repairs will not only make you seem like an unreliable landlord, but might end up costing you more in the long run. Most lettings agents spend 50% of their time coordinating maintenance and repairs.
Run Maintenance by Them
The contract should clearly stipulate that you will allow your tenant to have some say in when the property is repaired. If there’s a problem with the property that requires disruptive work, ask the tenant when is best for them. You want them to see this as their home, which might require some compromises!
Work Around Problems
If you’re hoping to secure a renewed contract, ensure you problem solve. If a tenant can’t afford this month’s rent for a certain reason, try to be understanding. Don’t threaten them with eviction straight away! There are a number of reasons why a tenant might not be able to afford their rent, from being made redundant to bereavement. Try to work together to resolve the issue! This is why good communication is so essential.
Being a landlord can be tough and, as your property is your livelihood, we believe in protecting it. There are many legal considerations when letting a property too and it is imperative that you are familiar with your obligations as a landlord or you employ someone who is.
If you need and advice or further tips on securing a long term tenancy, please feel free to call me on 01865 364541
Head of Residential Lettings