Published: 15/12/2022How to Find the Perfect Tenant…and Keep Them!
Renting out a property that you own is a big decision, and it can also be a stressful one. Whether you lived in it with your partner, raised a family there, or maybe bought it as an investment, it is your asset. Trusting someone to treat it as it deserves is no easy task. But if you are fortunate to find the right tenant, it can and should be a great arrangement for both parties. They get a comfortable, well-maintained home, and in exchange, you know your property is in safe hands. If we can give you one piece of advice, it is this. If you find a tenant that ticks all the boxes, do everything you can to keep them. That doesn’t mean pandering to their every requirement; we mean being fair and helping them to look after the property. Because we are pretty confident you would be expecting that in return.
So, what essential tips would we recommend when searching for the perfect tenant?
1. Don’t rule out Pets - there is a fine line between making strict rules about what you want from a tenant and being too fussy. It’s a tricky balance. Although you don’t want to rule out too many people, you need to ask yourself whether you would be happy for students, groups of friends or pets to take up residence in your house. Owning a dog doesn’t necessarily mean that the property won’t be looked after - in fact, they could be a dream tenant - but there is no denying that it does come with its own set of uncertainties. Will the pet damage the property? Will a dog bark at antisocial times? When deciding what you want from a tenant, don’t automatically rule anyone out but do have a good hard think about who your ‘dream tenant’ is.
2. Don’t Rush - of course, you don’t want the property sitting empty for long periods, especially during winter when it needs a little extra TLC. But that doesn’t mean it is wise to snap up the first person who shows some interest. Let’s get plenty of viewings booked in, meet a selection of potential tenants and find the right fit. If the first person you meet (or we meet on your behalf!) ticks every box, then fantastic, let's sign on the dotted line. But if it just doesn’t seem right, then patience is a virtue. The right person will be just around the corner.
3. High Standards - keeping the property in tip-top condition sets the standard for how you want your tenant to look after the house. If the decoration is in poor condition and the appliances are temperamental, what incentive have the tenants got to look after it themselves? As agents, we will make recommendations as to what we propose you address, if anything, before viewings are carried out, and anyone moves in. We know that a property in good condition is more likely to attract a good tenant. This doesn’t mean a whole refurbishment, but a lick of paint and a shower with good water pressure goes a long way.
4. Gut Feeling - sometimes, our gut just knows. If we meet someone who seems genuine and reliable and like they would be a good choice of tenant, then most of the time, that feeling is right. On the other side, if your gut says no, then give it a listen. Okay, we wouldn’t suggest going by gut feeling alone – some boxes need to be ticked – but it definitely plays a part in making a decision you are happy with.
So, the dream tenant is in…now how do you keep them?
1. Reasonable Rent – no one is saying you shouldn’t increase the rent. It is a business arrangement, and your job isn’t to meet all of the tenants' demands. But just be aware that hiking up the rent unjustly, even with the most reasonable tenant. is unlokely to be met favourably. By all means, increase the rent in the tenancy agreed timeframe and in line with the current market, but be transparent and fair and give them plenty of time to adjust their budget accordingly.
2. Good Communication – most people are reasonable, and if means of communication remain open, then the relationship between both parties can usually remain positive. If a tenant feels they can approach their landlord (or agent) with any concerns, they are more likely to do so – the last thing anyone wants is for a tenant to go quiet when a shower is leaking, or the heating is bust. We want these things addressed asap. This good communication also works the other way; if the relationship is strong, a landlord/agent will have a much easier time obtaining access to the property for repairs and inspections. It just makes everything run smoothly…a huge bonus for everyone.
3. Address Repairs and Maintenance – maintaining a property isn’t always cheap, but it is unavoidable. A landlord has a duty of care to ensure any problems are addressed within a reasonable timeframe and to an acceptable standard. Leaving problems will not make them go away; it will just prolong them, which often worsens the issue – consequently becoming a larger and more expensive job. It can also cause a relationship breakdown with the tenants.
Good tenants aren’t necessarily hard to find, but they can be easy to lose. In modern-day life, people are moving around a lot more for work and relationships, and the old-school way of staying in one home for decades doesn’t apply anymore. So, if you find that ‘perfect tenant’ and would love them to stay and look after your property for the foreseeable future, then look after them. A little bit of compassion, empathy, and good ol’ fashioned communication can go a long way.