As a landlord, it is imperative to recognise that keeping your tenants happy will make your life a lot easier and your role as a landlord far more profitable. If your tenants decide to stay when their original tenancy expires, you’ll not only avoid months of lost rent and time spent searching for new tenants, but you’ll also bypass agency fees and the danger of signing a contract with unsavoury replacements. Provided that they pay on time, keep up to date with any maintenance that they’re responsible for and don’t cause any problems, good tenants are worth their weight in gold, and you should do everything in your power to keep hold of them. To help you do just that, here are five ways to optimise the chance of your tenants renewing their lease.
#1 Inform Tenants of All Rules and Regulations Upfront
To avoid confusion and conflict further down the line, establish what is expected of your tenants at the very beginning of your agreement. Provided that you stick to this, your tenants should be happy, as chances are they will only sign the contract if they can live with its terms. By ensuring that they know exactly what they’re signing up for, the tenancy should run much more smoothly. Try to make these stipulations as specific as possible. For example, list what is considered damage to the property and the approximate cost to repair it. This could include information such as the charge per room if the tenant repaints but fails to restore it to a neutral colour before leaving.
#2 Address Legitimate Complaints as Quickly as Possible
Whether the problem is a disruptive neighbour or a leaking pipe, if your tenants feel that they are a priority and that you take their concerns seriously, they will be much happier with you and your property. Although it is acceptable in some circumstances to have a little lag time, you must recognise the scenarios that ought to be remedied immediately. A broken lock, for example, needs to be fixed straight away, but a broken handle on a cupboard door can wait. As a rule, all complaints, no matter how trivial, must be resolved in a week or less.
#3 Keep Up with Property Maintenance
When tenants are proud of the property they live in and happy to invite guests over, they are far more likely to stay. No-one wants to pay for a property with stained carpets, a broken outdoor light and cracked tiles, so make sure that you stay up-to-date with preventative maintenance. This will hugely improve your tenant’s experience, and will ensure that they don’t suffer the frustration of having to deal with items malfunctioning or breaking. Don’t forget the little touches that will improve your property’s aesthetic appeal, as these help to make a house feel more like a home and encourage tenants to put down some roots.
#4 Respect A Tenant’s Privacy
Once your residents have moved into the rental property, it is only fair that you avoid visiting without giving them proper notice. Although you have the right to inspect the property, bear in mind that your house is this person’s home, and that inspections can feel intrusive (although they’re obviously a vital part of your process). No-one likes being watched or caught unaware by visitors when their house is in disarray, so try to give at least 48 hours’ notice to allow your tenant to clean up and be ready for your arrival, rather than being back-footed because you’ve turned up unannounced. The easiest way to do this is by including it as part of the tenancy agreement. That way, everyone knows exactly where they stand.
The majority of tenants will not begrudge reasonable inspections two to three times a year, but repeat visits at all hours will not encourage them to renew their lease. Bear in mind that most tenants will feel nervous around you and do your best to put them at ease when you do pop in, making sure they know that the visit is just routine and that you’re not trying to catch them out.
#5 Offer Incentives
Little gestures go a long way, especially in areas where tenants have more properties to choose from. When your renters first move in, try and perform some small gesture of goodwill, whether that’s providing your tenant with a package of moving day essentials or a bottle of wine. During the year, small measures, such as sending a Christmas card, help to create a human face and encourage loyalty. On a less personal level, you may wish to consider holding off on increasing rents annually, or offer to re-carpet or repaint a room.