Not all Landlords are bad!
A long term landlord gives their top tips for successful property renting
Not all landlords or landladies are bad. Unfortunately there are indeed some unscrupulous ones but we are not all like that, it is a minority who give us all a bad name.
So far I have had very little trouble in my 25 years of being a landlord. Here are a few tips which have helped me but really there is no magic formula, just common sense; I provide a nice product and I get happy reliable customers. Tenants who like where they live and enjoy living there are more likely to look after it.
I only ever oncrease the rent when it becomes necessary to do so – not just because I want more money. Renting is expensive, for the tenant it is dead money. Tenants would think I was money-grabbing if I increased the rent for no reason. It is costly when a property is vacant and new tenants have to be found, so it is better to work with what I have. I keep the rent at a sensible level and try to keep the tenants loyal to my house.
I don’t get in too much of a debate if something minor gets broken because tenants are more likely to report problems if they think I will deal with it quickly and fairly and that long term means the house will be better maintained. I invest in the house and try to show that I am generous; a new carpet, a repaint, new appliance or new furniture, even small things such as a new door mat are appreciated and help to build a trusted relationship.
Before the start of a new tenancy, I have the house professionally cleaned, including carpets. I also buy a new set of set of cleaning products such as cloths, mops and toilet brushes to encourage good habits. To help protect kitchen work tops new chopping boards and trivets have proved a simple and cheap way to prolong the life of a work top. Some may think this is extravagant but it is worth spending money on these items because it saves in the long run.
Tenants don’t want me bothering them so I leave them alone unless I have a reason to get in contact. I only visit the house if I need to, usually because they have reported something not working, and they get 24 hours’ notice of my visit unless they want me to come before that.
If tenants have a special request, it is always better to listen to their reasons before deciding to agree to it or not. I find talking to them face to face about it is best then if I decide ‘no’ I can explain why. It is not always possible to respond immediately but I try very hard to fix things straight away. One thing that is guaranteed to annoy my tenants is slow repairs or replacements.
When tenants try to get in contact, they usually want to report something that has happened so I don’t ignore it. Far better to respond as soon as possible than to let the matter fester.
I rely on a good electrician, builder and plumber. So when they invoice me I pay straight away. I don’t like owing people money and I don’t mess them about, that way when they are busy, if I need help quickly I know they will assist because I am a good customer and settle their invoices quickly.
Keep tenants happy if they are to remain loyal, pay their rent and look after the property. Even if I don’t agree with what they want, sometimes I just have to remember the old phrase ‘the customer is always right’
Be aware of all the latest legislation and ensure the relevant gas and electric certificates are up to date and any gas and electrical equipment is well maintained. I never cut any corners, tenant safety is paramount. I always appoint certified suppliers to carry out work on your behalf and store the relevant paperwork safely. Remember to get an energy performance certificate for the property and fit and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
I use an independent inventory clerk who takes plenty of photos for the check in and again at check out and I put the tenant’s deposit in a Government approved scheme. This can reduce the risk of a dispute later on if something is damaged during a tenancy.
Landlords and landladies sometimes receive negative press and I expect this will continue for a long while to come. I hope genuine caring small time investors like me still have a future when the legislation gets tighter and borrowing tougher.