Landlords - How to encourage a long term tenancy
Every landlords dream is to have a long term tenancy where the tenants pay the rent on time each month and care and look after the property.
There are many advantages to having a long-term tenancy, a few of them are:
No void - There is no weeks/months void period for the property where it isn’t earning you any money, it is in fact costing you money having it sat empty with having to pay the mortgage, council tax, electricity, gas and water. The smaller the void period the smaller these costs will be.
Less hassle - There is far less hassle involved especially paperwork wise and the worry of how the ex-tenants will leave the property, dealing with the deposit release or even a dispute, and if the new tenants will settle in well or raise maintenance your previous tenants have been happy to live with and you are none the wiser about.
Saves money - A continued tenancy saves money from any void periods, paying the utilities whilst the property is empty as well as a tenancy set up fee with the Letting Agent for finding, referencing, checking immigration status of new tenants and issuing all the legal pre-tenancy documentation. It also saves money for work you wish/needing to be done between tenancies, for example a room redecoration where previous tenants have painted.
Build a relationship - With continued tenants the landlord tenant relationship gets stronger and all parties get to know each other and form a mutual respect. This will lead to the tenants doing more of those minor repairs within the house without 'bothering' you and generally lead to them looking after the property more as they treat it like home.
Long term tenants like to feel the property they are renting they are able to make their home rather than walking on egg shells and having to ask the landlord with every minor change they wish to make, for example an additional picture or adding/removing plants from the garden etc. There are a couple of ways you can make a tenant feel at home:
Find the right one - finding a tenant with the same morals as you will help you build a good relationship, respect for one another and lead to a happy tenant encouraging them to stay.
Invest in the property - if the property needs redecorating or new carpets because it’s looking old and tired, do those things. A well kept property shows the tenants you care and will encourage them to care and look after it.
Consider furnished/unfurnished and what white goods to leave - all tenants needs are different so please remember you are not going to be able to please everyone. Dependant upon where your property is based you way wish to leave some furnishings for your tenants to use during the tenancy which helps the property rent. Most tenants do not have white goods that they move around with so the vast majority will expect the landlord to leave these as the minimum.
Allow them to make their mark - if tenants are able to put their own stamp on the property like redecorate to their own taste, especially if they have children. Allowing them to paint their child's bedroom to how they want will mean the world to them (providing all alterations are put back to a neutral colours at the end of the tenancy).
Allow them to keep a pet - most families now own a pet whether it be a rabbit, guinea pig, dog, cat etc. If you are allowing a pet make sure you have a clause within the Tenancy Agreement or have an addendum to the Tenancy Agreement drawn up, giving permission for the specific pet and that the tenants will agree to correct any damage and to have the carpets fumigated and deodorised at the end of the tenancy, to prevent any flea infestation in the property and that the property is clean for your next tenants, who may not have a pet or may have a pet allergy.
Make the property comfortable to live in - repair all those little niggling maintenance issues that you or previous tenants were happy to live with, for example that loose toilet seat or the door which sticks occasionally.
Hire a gardener - I would only recommend landlords do this if they had specific upkeep they wanted maintained or had specifically high hedges or several trees. Hiring a gardener to attend to the hedges, low beaches of trees etc. will prevent neglect, untamed overgrowth and neighbours complaining as well as showing the tenants you still care about the property.
Keep regular communication - the best way to do this is via regular property visits to check all is ok with the property and no maintenance bits are required which haven’t been reported.
Rent increases - instead of increasing the rent year on year just because you can, take a view of the current, look at similar properties on the market, the way your tenants keep the property and longevity of the continued rent to maybe leave the rent stable for a year as a ‘reward’ to the tenants and a thank you to taking such good care of the property. They will ultimately feel valued and appreciated.
Fix repairs quickly - when a tenant reports a maintenance issue, deal with it in a timely manner rather than thinking, I’ll do that next week. Thinking like that you will likely forget and that will irritate the tenants and lead to them not reporting maintenance and possibly leading to bigger issues.
Run maintenance by them - make the tenants feel involved when you make decisions about maintenance, for example. If a shower needs replacing double check they are happy with a like for like replacement or if they prefer a different model. If the expense is different to a like for like replacement tenants may offer to contribute towards this to get a better quality and feel more like they are building a home.
Talk about any problems - if any issues crop up during the tenancy, talk about them, don’t leave them to fester. People much prefer honesty and clearing the air feels much better than stewing. Everyone hates having that ‘awkward’ conversation but once it’s over all parties will feel much better.
I hope the above has given you a bit of food for though, if you do have any property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact.