A good, productive relationship with your tenants can make the whole letting process considerably easier and stress free for its duration. Alongside the convenience, this can have a significant impact on your occupancy rates, condition of your property and ultimately delivering a consistent stream of revenue, giving you a good return on your investment.
A survey conducted by homelet on the views of landlords and tenants in the private rental sector found that a majority of landlords had a positive relationship with tenants: 55% of landlords stated that they were “very happy” with their current tenants.
Similarly, with more and more people renting, the private rental sector is increasingly being viewed as a ‘service industry’, with tenants outlining desirable qualities such as approachability, prompt responses and quick resolutions to any defects in the property.
Therefore, having a productive relationship requires regular engagement on the landlord’s part, when done correctly the rewards can speak for themselves, see the points below on how to forge and maintain a productive relationship with your tenants.
1. First Impressions Count
Always communicate your requirements via your agent from day one. When a tenant is moving in, they have often been with a different landlord or estate agent, thus it’s important to communicate and establish the rules of your house in a friendly manner before the move-in date. Using your agent to communicate your desires early on can avoid any tensions, for example if they wish to adopt a pet or decide to re-decorate. Discuss with your agent about adding certain requirements to your Tenancy Agreement if you deem it suitable.
Furthermore, taking the time to meet your tenants beforehand can be extremely beneficial. For example, being there on moving in day can help alleviate any immediate queries your tenant may have about the tenancy. Being able to meet your tenant beforehand can also help you judge the quality of a tenant, giving you more time to consider suitability when signing a contract.
2. Clear Communication
While this may seem an obvious point, communication is the critical factor, dictating the outcome of the entire landlord/tenant relationship. As a landlord, there are a multitude of things you can do to ensure the outcome is a positive one.
For Landlords, good communication entails:
• Warning tenants of any upcoming inspections or maintenance.
• Not entering the property or premises without permission of the tenants, giving at least 24 hours’ notice before doing so.
• Listening to any home improvement suggestions by tenants and addressing them where reasonable.
As well as enabling effective property management, this also helps tenants in feeling confident when approaching the landlord on any defects in the property, allowing the landlord to make the most of any warranties or insurance coverage.
3. Deal with Repairs Properly
Intertwining with the aforementioned point on communication, it is critical for tenants to raise any issues immediately with the landlord, preventing small issues from becoming bigger ones.
When dealing with repairs, landlords should:
• Urgently arrange for any problems to be fixed, which maintains the tenants trust.
• Do considerate research to hire a reputable contractor.
• Be as accessible as possible, especially if dealing with repair issues themselves as opposed to using a fully managed service.
4. Payment Problems
If the rent is late, talk to your tenant as soon as possible. Don’t assume they are deliberately not paying. It could simply be a bank error and they will want to be told so this can be corrected.
5. Make Sure you’re Covered with Proper Insurance
As a landlord, you need to ensure you have the right insurance in place to make sure yourself and your tenants are sufficiently covered. For example, if there is a flood, your insurance should cover alternative accommodation for your tenants.
And likewise, for tenants, it is important to know that landlords insurance does not cover everything. Tenants have to make sure they have their own insurance as well so that personal items are covered in the event of a fire, flood, etc.
The NLA offers property insurance for landlords; find out more here.
6. Make the Tenants feel at home
Working on the aforementioned points will make the tenant feel their privacy is respected. Tenants prefer regular check-ups in a non-intrusive way, mostly dealing with non-urgent enquiries via email and more urgent matters over the phone, so if you do not use an agent, having your own email address for queries is recommended.
As part of forming a good line of communication with tenants, consulting with them on their preferred method of communication is crucial. Regardless of your preferred methods, prompt responses in a polite and professional manner and keeping tenants updated on any outstanding issues demonstrates your commitment to upkeep of the property as a landlord as well as making the tenant assured that issues would be dealt with as if it were their own home.
7. Consider Offering a Longer Tenancy if you Find the Right Tenants
With over 30% of London households now renting (a number that only looks set to increase), many tenants crave the security of being able to stay in a property knowing that they can be there long term. If you’ve found high quality tenants, then consider offering to sign a longer tenancy with them. This will give them a sense of security while also reducing your risk of a void period in between tenancies.
Furthermore, it is important to ensure you do not take long-term tenants for granted. When you visit, consider if furnishings or decor need updating. Are these things which would be done if the tenants moved out? If so, you may retain that tenant for much longer by doing them now.