A landlord's guide to attracting and keeping the best tenants
A landlord's guide to attracting and keeping great tenants
Ideally, you want tenants who pay their rent on time, who will keep your property in good condition and want to stay for the medium to long-term. In this article, we look at some of the things you can do to attract and keep them.
Having reliable, trustworthy tenants can bring you great peace of mind. It means constant cash flow, low maintenance bills, and no voids - the time between tenancies when your property is empty.
So, how do you go about attracting dream tenants for your property?
We take a look at some of the steps you can take, but before we go any further, it's essential that you and your property are compliant with current legislation. There are many laws, rules and regulations you must be familiar with before you market your rental property or you may end up facing a hefty fine.
Bringing your property to market
In this section, we look at the steps you need to take to get your property ready to rent.
Check out the competition
This is now much easier thanks to the internet. Using popular rental sites, you can search the area where your property's located to check out:
- The amount of competition there is.
- How other properties are being presented and marketed.
- Rental prices for similar properties. Include properties that have already been let in your search. (This can give you a better idea of the price, and how long they were on the market for).
And even though you may have decided to let the property yourself, it's worth speaking with local letting agents as they'll be familiar with the market.
Advertising your property
The more advertising you do, the greater visibility your property will have, increasing the likelihood of finding the right tenants. Here are some tips on marketing your property.
Appeal to your target market
Be clear on who you'd like as tenants - young professionals, families, couples - and make the property appealing to them. Décor, fixtures and fittings, furnishings and any included extras could make the difference between yours and another property. Consider incentives you could include in the rent, such as satellite TV, broadband or Council Tax.
Free and low-cost marketing
- Use friends, family, neighbours and colleagues for word-of-mouth marketing
- Place adverts on free internet sites, such as Gumtree
- Take advantage of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Advertise in local publications, including newspapers and parish magazines
- Place adverts in local shops - newsagents, post offices, etc
Property marketing tips
- Be competitive with your pricing.
- Make the title of your property advert clear, concise, accurate and appealing.
- Write a clear description of your property including the rooms, responsibilities, and the property's condition.
- Highlight features such as parking, garage, garden, or any fees you're including (such as Council Tax or broadband)/
- Use high resolution photos of your property inside and outside.
- Show the location on a map, or include a postcode so someone can see where it is.
- Keep your information up to date.
- If you're using the internet, check that your advert is 'live' and refresh it regularly.
- Don't forget to include your contact details - email and/or phone.
Using a letting agent has a number of advantages. For instance, they'll take care of your marketing, all prospects will have been vetted and credit-checked. Some agents can even arrange extras like maintenance packages for you. However, there are costs, which can vary between 10-20% depending on the services you use.
Before engaging a letting agent, ask:
- Are they a member of a professional body, such as Propertymark or Safeagent (formerly NALS)?
- How do they find tenants?.
- Who will maintain the property?
- What service packages do they provide?
- What are their charges?
Prepare for viewings
For most people, evenings and weekends are likely to be the best times for viewings, although some may request a lunchtime or evening appointment. On the viewing day, make sure you clearly explain the terms of the tenancy, responsibilities and obligations. Be ready to answer questions such as:
- What's the average monthly energy bill?
- What council tax band is the property in and how much is it?
- When is bin collection day?
- What's the local area like? Where's the nearest...shop, school, doctors' surgery, post office, gym?
- What public transport is nearby (buses, trains, trams, underground stations)?
Present the property well
Make sure the property is clean and odour free - inside and out. If it's sat vacant for a while, open the windows to let the air circulate and consider draining the water system to minimise the risk of legionella. Even if the property is unoccupied for a short amount of time, it's important to maintain a water flow by regularly turning the hot and cold taps on and flushing the toilets once a week to help prevent stagnation. Pick up any post that's sitting around. Don't forget about the garden and make sure there's somewhere for the prospective tenant to park their car - even if that means you having to park around the corner.
Searching for a tenant can be time-consuming. The following tips can help make it a little easier, and quicker, to find the perfect people for your property.
Telephone interview potential tenants
You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by taking the time to telephone a potential tenant before showing them around your property. It can save you and your prospect a wasted journey and give you a chance to reiterate the kind of candidate you're looking for.
References and checks
Before you accept tenants, you need to know as much as possible about who's moving into your property. One way to do this is through references. As a minimum, you should ask to see:
- A copy of their passport or driving licence
- A list of previous addresses
- Employment reference, plus past and current employment status
- References from previous landlords (beware of glowing references - they may be one landlord's way of getting rid of a bad tenant.)
It's worth investing in an independent reference check, although there will be a fee to pay.
Right to Rent
Right to Rent legislation advises a landlord, letting agent or homeowner on how to conduct a right to rent check when letting privately rented accommodation. It's important that you read and understand it, as there are financial penalties up to £3,000, and even jail terms for those who fail to follow the process. For more information read the Government's Right to Rent guide. It covers everything from who to check, and how.
Keep your tenants happy
Once your tenants are in the property, carry out regular checks to make sure everything's OK, and keep your tenants informed when you'll be visiting. Poor maintenance is one of tenants' biggest complaints about landlords, so respond as soon as possible to stay on top of any repairs and replacements. Thoughtful gestures like a welcoming gift, and just checking that they're well can go a long way to keeping good tenants in your property.
Get covered with Direct Line Landlord Insurance
A normal home insurance policy won't cover you if you're renting to tenants. Our specialist Landlord Insurance can offer you peace of mind in case something goes wrong with your tenants. Our policy can cover many different circumstances, including:
- Landlord liability insurance
- Landlord building insurance
- Landlord contents insurance
- Loss of rent insurance
- Rent Guarentee (also known as Tenant Default insurance)
- Accidental damage insurance
- Unoccupied property insurance
- Landlord home emergency insurance
- Legal expenses insurance
- Terrorism insurance
Being a successful landlord is all down to planning. If you follow the above steps and keep your tenants happy, you're more likely to enjoy being a landlord and reap the rewards of your property investment.
The information contained within this article is for general information purposes only, it does not constitute advice. Direct Line for Business endeavours to keep the information up to date and correct but does not make any representation or warranties of any kind about its completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability. Any reliance you place on the information is strictly at your own risk. Direct Line for Business will not be liable for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.