Finders Keepers: How to find good tenants and keep them

Happy emoticonIt’s every landlord’s dream to find tenants who will look after your property, pay like clockwork and aren’t in a hurry to move on. Finding the right tenants can mean fewer costly void periods, lower maintenance bills and a lot less hassle. Building good relationships can also pay rich dividends providing both landlord and tenants with peace of mind.

How to find the best tenants

Before you get started it’s a good idea to do your homework. Check the local competition (both online and high-street lettings agents) to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Make a note of who they are targeting, how they are targeting them, and how much rent they charge.

The next step is to get potential tenants through the door and it makes sense to start close to home:

Family & Friends Word of mouth goes a long way and it’s hard to beat a recommendation from someone you know. Use social media to help advertise your rental property to friends and work colleagues.

Local Lettings Agents Bricks and mortar lettings agents can be the simplest solution, but they don’t come cheap. As well as providing a useful shop window they may have a list of tenants already looking for rental accommodation. Make sure you are aware of all up-front and ongoing costs and only use a lettings agent that’s a member of a recognised professional body such as ARLA.

Online Lettings Agents All the big property portals have lettings facilities open to private landlords (including: Zoopla, Rightmove and Prime Location) which double as aggregator sites to advertise properties from local lettings agents. It’s also worth noting that there are a number of smaller online agents who will advertise your property in the bigger portals for a fraction of the cost.

Classified Adverts In the digital age it’s easy to overlook classified adverts, but they can be a great way of finding tenants, whether it’s an advert in your local paper or online via gumtree.

It’s said that you only get one chance to make a first impression and it’s well worth taking time to craft the perfect advert. Take plenty of high quality high resolution images and include plenty of information about the property and the surrounding area.

Preparing your property for viewings

Chose a time when the property is at its best, ideally during daylight hours. Make sure the property is clutter free, clean and well aired.

It’s said that knowledge is power so make sure that you have all relevant facts and figures at your fingertips, from your current utility suppliers to your council tax band.

It’s a widely-held belief that rental properties should be a blank canvass, but tailoring the décor and furnishings to fit your ideal tenants could swing the deal.

Checking your tenant’s background

Everybody knows that you can’t judge a book by its cover and it’s essential to carefully check your tenant’s background. Ask for references from current employers and past landlords and check they are genuine with a quick phone call. Next dig a little deeper with the help of an online tenant referencing service, where you can reference a wealth of information about your tenant’s identity and financial history.

How to keep hold of your tenants

Once you have got hold of great tenants it’s worth going an extra mile to keep them:

Be Responsive Get on top of repairs quickly and make sure they are carried out to a high standard; shoddy workmanship is a well-known tenant bugbear.

Privacy Counts It’s important to respect your tenant’s privacy and that means giving them ample warning if you’re visiting to undertake maintenance or an inspection.

Stay Professional Remember that you’re running a business (with a friendly face) rather than a popularity contest and your tenants will appreciate knowing exactly where they stand.

Communication is Key Keep communications channels open and try to keep an electronic paper trail so there’s no room for misunderstanding at a later date.

Judgement Calls In life you can expect the unexpected and sometimes financial plans go awry. Leniency with late rental payments due to unforeseen events will build loyalty, but don’t let the situation slide.

Renewal Incentives If you are happy with your tenants it may be worth considering an incentive to encourage them to renew. Options could include: a rent cut or rental holiday, redecorating or some new furnishings, or help with utility bills or even a satellite TV package.

No matter how much hard work you put into finding the right tenants; there’s no guarantee that everything will go according to plan. Landlord insurance provides a financial safety net providing peace of mind that you and your property are completely covered. To find out more, or for a competitive quote, visit our landlord insurance pages or Tel: 0161 874 7747 to speak with a member of our team.




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