A Guide To Finding (And Keeping) Dream Tenants
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What makes a dream tenant?
In our (pretty extensive, though we say so ourselves) experience, there are three key indicators of a potential tenant’s suitability:
1 – History
Look out for a good track record of steady employment, sensible personal financial management and positive past rental experiences. A good letting agent will collate all this so you can make the most informed decision possible about who you allow to live in your property.
2 – Responsibility
A good tenant will treat your property as if it were their own home – indeed, that’s precisely what it is while they’re there. This sense of responsibility extends to paying the rent on time, being a good neighbour and communicating with the landlord and/or letting agent should any issues arise with the property. This type of tenant also always co-operates when it comes to periodic inspections.
3 – Organisation
The best tenants will typically have all their paperwork in order. If requests for documents such as bank statements, ID, application forms, payslips, tax returns and employment references are dealt with swiftly, then of course that’s usually an excellent sign. However, the opposite also applies should there be delays from a potential tenant(s) when you ask them for important information.
Now that we know what makes a dream tenant, let’s explain how to find them for your rental –here, we focus in the key aspects of unlocking your property’s potential.
The most reasonably priced, attractively presented property in the world won’t grab the attention of your ideal tenants if the marketing is substandard.
The basics of brilliant marketing include top-quality photography highlighting the flat or house’s benefits, extensive promotion on property portals and working with an agency which has a database of potential tenants. And, by the way, not just any old tenants. A good lettings agency will advise you on the best target markets for your type of home. They will then help create a marketing strategy around appealing to the ideal renters, whether that’s professional couples, young families or single people.
Present your property properly
Today’s renters are more demanding, especially those in the dream tenants category, despite the strongly competitive market for rental homes. So it’s important that your property is well maintained, safe, secure and meets the lifestyle aspirations of your ideal renters. For example, a young professional couple may be drawn to your two-bedroom property because the spare room provides the perfect base from which to work from home.
If you experience a ‘void’ period on your rental, use the opportunity to redecorate, refurbish and reimagine how the property can be pitched to a fresh target market.
Good tenants are always worth holding on to, since they save you time, money and hassle:
A good tenant who stays in your property eliminates the problem of void periods, while their prompt payment of rent is also excellent in terms of your cash flow.
A problem tenant can quickly drain your time and energy, not least if you’re trying to deal with the situation without the help and expertise of a reputable letting agent.
Once everything is nicely in place, with rental payment dates arranged, regular inspections scheduled and maintenance matters dealt with promptly, a good tenancy should run very smoothly indeed.
Here are five simple ways to raise the chances of holding on to good tenants for longer:
If you treat your tenant(s) with respect and fairness, it’s a recipe for a good, long-term working relationship. Remember, it may be your property, but it’s your tenants’ home while they’re living there.
Always communicate clearly, effectively and promptly with your tenant(s) about anything affecting them.
If you deal quickly with any issues and address concerns without delay, you build a strong trust and rapport with your tenant(s).
While this is a red line for some landlords, a ‘no pets’ policy could be costing you excellent tenants. Could it be time for a rethink?
Many landlords don’t have the time or inclination to get involved with the running of their rental. That’s where an excellent letting agent steps in to become the bridge between a responsible landlord and a dream tenant.
Four tenancy myths busted
There are myriad myths and endless incorrect information swirling around about how to get the best possible tenants.
Here are four of the most common, which we find ourselves busting surprisingly often:
The tenant willing to pay the most rent is my best option
FACT: In our experience, this simply isn’t invariably true. When selecting a tenant, you need to check out all their references, and be sure they’ve provided all the necessary paperwork promptly, and that their employment/financial situation is secure. Sometimes, a more stable, longer-term potential tenant willing to pay a fair rent is better than someone agreeing to a higher rate, but who may become problematic further down the line.
I only need to check a prospective tenant’s credit score and not any other referencing
FACT: Someone’s credit score only tells you part of their situation. Legally, you’ll also need to check their right to rent in England, for example. To protect your investment, you should also seek references from their employer, check wage slips and seek testimonials from previous landlords.
The rental market is so strong that my property will let itself out
FACT: It’s true that the local rental market is robust, but properties which are not correctly marketed attract tenants who will pay less rent. Equally, failure to follow the right procedures and checks that an experienced letting agency carries out can leave you vulnerable to tenancy issues. It’s always wise to provide a good quality home, and not become complacent just because rental demand is high.
Renting to my family or friends is always a really safe bet
FACT: Unfortunately, this can actually be a recipe for disaster. Many landlords rush into this kind of arrangement without proper tenancy agreements in place. If the situation sours, there can often be an emotional and financial price.
Your 11-point dream tenant checklist
- Is your property in a suitable condition to attract good quality tenants? We can give you an honest assessment of where your property sits in the current local rental market and advise on how to improve its condition.
- Do you have a plan for attracting as much interest to your property as possible? Again, this is something we can help with – professional marketing of your rental attracts far more attention from potential, high-calibre tenants.
- Are you clear on what makes a tenant fall into the ‘good’ category? (Clue – reading Page 3 of this guide will help.)
- Do you know all the steps needed to check out all a potential tenant’s references properly? We can do this for you.
- Is your tenancy agreement professionally drawn up and will it stand up to scrutiny?
- Do you have a government-backed deposit scheme in place for the tenancy?
- When will you be making periodic property inspections? There are strict rules around this –we can advise you on and create a plan of action for inspections.
- What’s your plan for maintaining the property properly and keeping it legally compliant? You’ll need gas, electrical and other safety certificates in place, for a start-off.
- How much will you be budgeting for repairs and maintenance? As mentioned in this guide, dealing with issues swiftly and successfully lays the foundations for long-term tenancies.
- Following on from the last point, do you have access to trustworthy and qualified tradespeople who can attend the property quickly to carry out any maintenance or repairs?
- What is your renewal process? When you have good tenants, it is worth finding out whether they want to renew their tenancy six to 10 weeks before the agreement ends.
Got a question about anything in this guide? Feel free to contact us on any of the numbers or email addresses as follows:
12 Sackville Road
35 Cornfield Road
60 – 61 Robertson Street