The ultimate dream for many landlords is to have reliable and long-term tenants, who keep to their rent dates and stay on top of basic property maintenance matters. So, building a good relationship with your tenants will not only make your life as a landlord that little bit simpler, but it will prove particularly valuable in making your property investment more profitable.
Here’s some of our top recommendations if you’re looking to improve your relationship with your tenants, and to boost the chances of them renewing their lease:
1. Make your tenancy agreement and expectations clear from the start
If you’re not letting your property through an estate agent, this is a particularly important point. In hope of making your tenancy run smoothly, establish what you expect from your tenants – and what they expect from you – clear from the start. By signing your agreement, your tenants are agreeing to the terms stipulated within it, but it means you need to stick to your end of the deal too. Both parties should therefore be happy in the knowledge that clear expectations have been set.
Furthermore, make sure any specific exemptions or clauses as part of your agreement are as clear and specific as possible, for avoidance of any doubt further down the line.
2. Respond within a reasonable timescale when it comes to property maintenance
Property maintenance issues can be a pain for anybody, so try to keep your tenants happy by managing repairs within a reasonable time frame. Whilst a leak or appliance fault is often a minor inconvenience, nothing is more frustrating than having to wait weeks – or months – for a resolution, especially if your tenants are paying a high rent. If you think you’ll find this difficult to manage alongside other commitments such as work or your family, it may be worth considering a Fully Managed service from your letting agent, so you need not worry about repairs or damages.
However, if you’re managing the property rather than using a third party, make sure to establish good communication with your tenants from the offset, and make sure they know you’re approachable if they have any maintenance problems. This means anything serious (or damaging/costly to your investment) can be dealt with swiftly.
3. Resolve any complaints ASAP
As a guide, complaints should be resolved within a week, regardless of how severe (or not) they may seem. This demonstrates to your tenants that they are a priority and that you take their concerns and comments seriously. A slight delay could be forgiven if their concerns are not urgent (for example, they might have a faulty door handle or dripping tap), but larger issues, particularly surrounding security and safety, should be fixed immediately.
Finding solutions to problems within a reasonable time frame – especially if those problems are personal – will demonstrate to your tenants that you are responsible and reliable as a landlord, hopefully encouraging them to stay at the end of their contract.
4. Be respectful of your tenants’ privacy
As their landlord, you have a right to inspect your tenants’ home, as it’s your property! However, it’s unfair to drop by unannounced, so being organised and respectful as a landlord is paramount to keeping your tenants happy. If you want or need to visit the property, firstly make sure you have a valid reason. Secondly, try to give at least 48 hours’ notice. To avoid any room for conflict over the matter, it’s important that this is included and highlighted within your tenancy agreement.
Leaders recommends that landlords ought to visit their rental properties at least once every six months. This way, they can keep on top of any maintenance issues and speak with their tenants about their welfare whilst staying in the property. By doing this, landlords are able to remedy any problems as they arise, before they become aggravating for either party. Regular property visits and inspections are also included as standard, as part of Leaders’ Fully Managed service.
5. Don’t shy away from updates to legislation
One of your key responsibilities as a landlord is to ensure your property and tenancy agreement conforms with the latest industry legislation, especially when it relates to health and safety. Tenants are able to research every and any industry regulation, so it’s important to stay on top of recent changes, otherwise your practice as a responsible and proactive landlord will be compromised.
One example of a recent legislation change is the Right to Rent scheme, whereby landlords housing tenants that do not supply valid documents to satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Act 2014 now face up to £3,000 worth of fines per person. Prior to any tenancy agreement, Leaders ensures that all prospective tenants are fully vetted, according to the government’s Right to Rent guidelines.
Leaders’ landlords are kept up-to-date on all legislation changes, and we also ensure any contractors we use are compliant, providing both landlords and tenants with peace of mind.
6. Give your property investment a ‘homely’ feel
Some of the smallest changes to a property can make a big impact, including making it more appealing, welcoming and aesthetically attractive. Without doubt, your tenants are likely to notice small efforts and appreciate them – whether it be a house plant as a welcome gift, or a few extra pots and pans for their family – anything to help them feel more ‘at home’ will reflect well on your persona and hopefully encourage them to renew their contract.
Need more advice on your rental property?
As letting experts, we offer free instant online valuations and a range of landlord services.
If you wish to speak to a member of our team, simply call us on 0333 920 3472 or visit your local Leaders branch.