Building Good Relationships
Mon 29 October 2018
With a quarter of UK households expected to be in private rentals by the end of 2021, it’s important that landlords who don’t use a letting agent to manage their tenancy, create a harmonious relationship with their tenants. This is to ensure as little stress as possible for both parties.
As a landlord, you want to attract good quality tenants… They will pay on time, look after your property, be harmonious to their neighbours and stay for a while. However, whether a young professional, family or retiree, they will want to feel appreciated by their landlords in return. Sam Benson of RH & RW Clutton’s lettings department in East Grinstead provides her thoughts on how to ensure you are seen as thoughtful, respectful and most importantly, trustworthy…
“Reassure tenants they can contact you about anything, at any time. Provide a phone number for an emergency.
“Address reported issues as quickly as possible. You’ve assured your tenants that you’re happy for them to contact you when necessary, so make sure you respond in a timely manner. Tenants love to have issues they raise handled quickly and efficiently – especially when it comes to repairs. It’s best not to delay until there is something else to fix before you deal with problems as tenants won't forget if you ignore something or are slow about addressing a problem.
“Maintain the property – this will help with commanding a good rental price too. Legally, you have to ensure a home meets safety standards, so things such as electricity, gas and drainage must all be checked regularly. However other factors should be considered too… perhaps offer to repaint the front door if its looking tired, replace the out of date curtains with fresh new ones or re-pave the patio that’s caving in and stopping your tenants from eating al fresco. This attention to detail and care for your tenants and their home will go a long way.
“Don’t be tempted by cheap fixes… you’ll find you’ll be paying for it further down the line with constant repairs, and your tenants won’t be happy.
“Be friendly with your tenants… in person and via email or text. Just because you’re a landlord, doesn’t mean you need to detach yourself from your tenants personally. I’m not suggesting you meet them for a drink at the pub every so often (although some people do do this), but you will help reassure them that you are going to be a great landlord if you are polite and courteous when meeting them for the first time, on inspections, or when talking to them generally about any problems at the property.
“Tenants like to feel safe, so make sure their home has good security systems in place, such as efficient doors, windows and locks. Legally you have to provide a smoke alarm on every storey of a home, and if you are a landlord of an apartment building, an alarm needs to be fitted in each flat, as well as on the landing of each floor. Furthermore, for every property that has an open fire, wood burner and aga, it must now have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room as the appliance. Other factors you also need to think about include leaking roofs, interior walls in danger of collapsing and a garden shed that wouldn’t survive another storm.
“Usually, tenants are given two month’s notice after an initial twelve-month contract, if their landlord needs them to vacate their home. However, given the shortage of good quality homes for let, tenants will appreciate a longer termination notice period. It can be really stressful to find another rental property in such a short time.
Always warn about rising rents, with as much notice as possible. It is normal to increase rents from time to time, but don’t just spring it on your tenants.
"As much as it’s a great idea to form a good relationship with your tenants, it’s also important to keep a healthy balance, by respecting their privacy. Try not to inundate them with questions all the time. You are of course entitled to visit the property every X months, but generally tenants want to feel comfortable in their home and not be constantly on edge that their landlord is going to pop by or call up to check all is ok.”