How to Keep Your Tenants Happy

 Being a landlord means managing a professional relationship with a tenant for months, or even years. Tenants that are unhappy with their property (or their landlord) are unlikely to stick around, costing you valuable rent money in the process.

As a letting agents in York, we’ve long known that a strong landlord-tenant relationship benefits everybody. Therefore, we’ve put together this new guide on how to keep your tenants happy.

1. Put yourself in your tenant’s shoes

While you can obviously ask tenants what they want when they move in, a good landlord anticipates these needs ahead of time. You can’t predict who will come to live in your property, but you can make some educated guesses. Showing your tenants you care (as soon as possible) is a great way to ensure they stick around.

baby shoes on blanket with clothes

If you’re letting a house near several schools, for instance, you can expect your property to attract families with children. Therefore, make sure there’s plenty of storage space (for food, clothes, toys and so on) and that the property is generally child-friendly. Gardens are a big draw for families, so if your property has one, take some time to cut the grass and get rid of any weeds or nettles.

If you’re letting a flat to a professional, your tenant will probably want some more creature comforts. A furnished flat rather than an unfurnished one is more likely to attract professional tenants .The goal here is to make the property as low-maintenance as possible—if you need to remodel the bathroom, for example, easy-to-clean bath panels are an excellent choice.

2. Add a homely feel to the decor

Besides anticipating your tenant’s needs, general maintenance is your next priority. A lick of paint always helps.

Don’t forget about the floors, either!

Curling linoleum or threadbare carpets are a sure way of deterring potential tenants, but are an easy tweak before viewings start. Should you need to buy new furniture, like soft furnishings, don’t just look for hardwearing items. Your property needs to have some style to it, and small touches like some accent cushions can go a long way when making a good first impression.

living room with sofa and cushions

Whether your tenants are new additions or long-term renters, try asking if there’s anything they want adding to the property. Think carefully about what you’re prepared to do beforehand, though. Hanging some extra shelves is one thing, but installing a new kitchen appliance is another (more costly) thing altogether. Still, giving tenants greater creative control over their homes helps to keep them around, benefiting both of you in the long run.

You could also add a homely feel by encouraging them to make their own mark on the property. This can range from letting them hang photos on the wall to allowing pets in your property. Pets do carry a risk of property damage, but that can be offset by the benefits of attracting a long-term rental agreement. This is especially true if other local landlords forbid pets. And if you’re curious about how to attract long-term tenants, take a look at our latest tips on this.

3. Start with the best foot forward

If you know you have a new tenant moving in, there are some simple but effective ways to make a good first impression. One great idea is to put together a welcome pack, which helps tenants settle into a new home.

welcome sign

A welcome pack doesn’t have to be expensive; it could be a gift or a mini hamper of some basic foods. Alternatively, you could create a information based welcome pack that provides details on local services, like bin collection, GPs, post offices, convenience stores and their local council. Although your tenants will probably have researched an area, living in it is a different prospect.

You can include some information on their deposit protection scheme too. Landlords are legally required to put a tenant’s deposit in one of three protection schemes. You may also want to provide your contact details, or—if you’re using a managed letting service like the one Quantum provides—who they can speak to about any problems. Information like this puts your tenants’ minds at ease, and assures them you’re acting in good faith.

Finally, you might want to include information about the property itself. Tell them how to find the gas and electric meters, where the instructions for appliances are kept, and if there are any noise restrictions or other rules for them to observe.

4. Focus on good communication

Talking to your tenants is a good way to ensure they’re happy in your property. However, you have to think carefully about how you do this, to ensure it doesn’t backfire.

If you want to visit your tenant, you’re legally required to let them know 24 hours in advance. You must also arrange to visit the property at a reasonable time. The only exception to this is if you have to deal with an emergency, like a burst pipe.

mobile phone next to laptop

Keep in mind that even if you call ahead, your tenant is not legally required to let you in to the property without some kind of legal document granting you entry. However, it is very rare for tenants to deny access like this.

Getting to know your tenants can help to prevent or defuse mishaps in the future. If—for example—your tenant breaks something in the property, knowing the tenant beforehand can help to defuse any tension, and give you a better sense of their character. Accidents happen after all and it’s unlikely that any breakage was done maliciously.

Similarly, don’t panic if there’s a problem with paying the rent the first time. The problem might be with the bank, or some other small issue that’s easily resolved. Beware jumping to any conclusions before giving the tenant a chance to resolve the problem.

Finally, why not consider sending them a card at Christmas. It’s a simple but effective way to maintain a positive relationship.

5. Consider renewal incentives

Most people don’t relish the idea of moving out. Hunting for a new place to live and packing up belongings is an incredibly stressful experience, and if you’re a landlord, an empty property means you aren’t earning any money from it.

colourful flower with leaves in background

If you’re happy with how things are going with your current tenant, why not give them reasons to stay?

Rent is a big incentive in a tenant’s choice to move on; try to keep it at the same level for as long as you can. If you do need to increase the rent, arrange a meeting with your tenants and explain the rent rise in as much detail as you can. They might not like having to pay more, but they’ll often appreciate your communication on the matter and if the rise is reasonable it could out way the cost of moving.

You can also make a rent rise more palatable by maintaining or improving the quality of your tenant’s property.

Offer to repaint a room or replace an appliance. You could even consider adding a small additional appliance that’s more of a luxury item like a bread maker.

There is a cost to these improvements, but the guaranteed stream of rent money it leads to can offset this cost.

With a little care and attention, a landlord-tenant relationship can be a highly fruitful one on both sides.

But if you’d prefer to avoid the day-to-day stresses of being a landlord, Quantum’s managed letting service is just what you’re looking for!

It’s just one of our key services to York landlords that makes us one of the biggest independent letting agents in York.

·  We can collect the rent each month and send you a detailed monthly statement, which shows both income and expenditure.

·  We can also chase late payments in the unlikely event these are a problem.

·  We’ll also visit the property regularly, and discuss maintenance issues with both you and your tenants.

·  If there are any post-tenancy issues, our team will approach your tenants in a friendly manner and resolve the problem in a professionally.

Learn more about managed letting here. Or if you’d to discuss your York property lets with our team, call us today on 01904 631 631.

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