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High tenant turnover - Stressful for landlords

Posted on 2016-02-05

Our recent survey of almost 2,000 landlords has given us a keen insight into what landlords think about the private rented sector, with many of the results echoing sentiments expressed by tenants in our survey of their views. Within our survey (you can see the full results here), landlords revealed that the high turnover of tenants was the most stressful part of being a landlord. Here we look at the results of the survey and offer advice on how landlords can help keep their tenants for the long term.

Of almost 2,000 landlords surveyed, 18% told us that the high turnover of tenants was the most stressful part of the job. This was closely followed by 12% of landlords who told us that tenants not paying rent was the most stressful factor. Interestingly, only 3% thought that the job was too time consuming, and only 5% cited ongoing maintenance as the worst or most stressful part of being a landlord.

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In positive news for landlords and those thinking of investing in buy-to-let properties, of those who selected ‘other’ as the worst or most stressful part of being a landlord, many told us that they did not find it stressful whatsoever.
In further good news, it appears as though even though a high tenant turnover is the most stressful part of being a landlord, many find filling properties when they’re empty relatively simple due to high demand.

This is perhaps unsurprising, with our Rental Index showing that the average rental rate for new tenancies continues to increase, indicating that demand continues to outstrip supply. Overall, 70% of landlords told us that it was easy to fill a property, and 0% said it was very difficult, with only 2% stating it was quite difficult. This shows us that, even if turnover of tenants is high, landlords are still finding it relatively straightforward to find more.

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So, if you’re worried about tenant turnover, then what can you do to help? We’ve written helpful guides about attracting long term tenants before. However, there are several key points that can help:

1) Ensure the rental rate is right

If your tenant thinks they’re getting good value for money, they’ll be more inclined to stay. Even if your tenant likes the property, they’ll be more likely to move on if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere. As such, you should review your rent regularly. Our Rental Index can help with this, but be sure to keep a close eye on the local market, too. If you’ve got good tenants that you want to keep, it can also be worth discussing holding the rent at the current rate in order to keep them at the end of their tenancy, even if you think you could increase it.

2) Be approachable and keep in touch regularly

If you’re managing the property, be sure to stress to your tenants how approachable you are if they have any queries or problems. Building a good rapport can make a big difference if you’re looking to retain good tenants, and they’re more likely to stay with a landlord that they can trust to answer questions and carry our repairs efficiently and to a good standard. In addition, be sure to be in touch with them, too.

3) Consider allowing decorations

Allow your tenants to make your house their home (within reason). You won’t want amateur DIY enthusiasts making dramatic changes to your home but, providing the changes they request are reasonable – such as refreshing the paint or putting up picture hooks for family photos – and they apply in writing, allowing them may be beneficial if you’re comfortable with these changes. If their rented property feels like a family home they’re settled in, they’ll be far less likely to leave.

4) Think about pets

Finally, many tenants with pets find it hard to secure a property. We’ve discussed the benefits of allowing pets before. This is a judgement call for whether you believe this is suitable for the property and whether you believe it may be likely to cause damage. But, to counter reservations, you can even contact the previous landlord or ask for a reference, among other safeguards. But, if an owner and a pet are settled, they’re much less likely to remove it from its home. If you’re unsure, you can also alter the tenancy agreement to cover for additional cleaning when the tenant leaves.

In summary, a high turnover of tenants appears to be the most stressful part of being a landlord, according to our survey. However, by following the above steps, you’re much more likely to attract a long term tenant, eliminating the most stressful part of being a landlord in the process.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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