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How to attract the best tenant

Published: 15/07/2020

The biggest concern for every landlord is that the person or people living in their property will look after it and pay their rent. Having to deal with arrears, damages and lack of care is
a hassle that nobody wants, and constantly worrying month to month if the rent has been paid is no way to enjoy being a landlord.

Most tenants treat their homes with respect and we are pleased to say we have very few problems at Nash Partnership. A lot of that is down to our referencing procedures, but it’s also down to the way landlords look after their properties to attract the best people to live in them. Not only will you achieve a higher rent with a well-maintained property, you will also attract tenants who value a higher standard of living: anyone who doesn’t simply won’t want to pay for it.

With home ownership currently in decline in the UK, more and more people are renting and for the longer term. This means that tenants now look at rental properties with a different eye: as somewhere they might live for many years, rather than as somewhere more temporary.

This benefits you as a landlord through less wear and tear on your property as fewer people move in and out, but also means that tenants pay more attention to the quality and condition of a property.

As with almost everything in life, quality attracts quality and there are several factors that decide the types of people you will attract. So let’s take a look at how you can achieve the best tenant, best rent and best result for your property.

Location & lifestyle
When it comes to choosing where to own a rental property, it’s important to match the location to the types of people you want to attract. While there are always exceptions to every rule, our advice would be to take the easy route: go with a location that will attract the largest number of potential tenants from the audience you want to reach, to give yourself the widest choice of people to choose from.

Professional tenants often prioritise how easy it is for them to get to and from work, so good transport connections will be important. They’ll also look at the local social scene for their time off, so if you have a property in mind to purchase as a buy-to-let, it’s worth looking at what’s nearby in terms of pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops. Easy maintenance will also be important for busy people; perhaps a balcony, terrace or patio where all they need to do is put down a table and chairs, and perhaps a pot or two.

If you’d like to capture the family market, looking at the Ofsted website for schools with good and outstanding ratings is an excellent way to narrow down your search radius. The most popular schools often have catchment areas which drives up demand for those streets, ensuring a ready supply of motivated tenants. Working families will also take into account transport connections, and will probably want a reasonable size of garden for children to play in.

Ask us for advice on locations that are popular with tenants in your chosen marketplace, or check out our schools information here.

Condition
There is absolutely no question that by maintaining your property well, you will attract the highest-quality tenants. You’ll be sending out a message that you are a landlord who cares, and that you expect your good work to be respected and carried on.

Very simply, people will pay more rent for a property that is well cared for than they will for one that isn’t, so, in between tenancies, make sure to bring your property back up to scratch by checking for signs of wear and tear and making them good. Even small scuff marks on walls or woodwork can negatively impact the look of a room, yet they are easy to remove or decorate over to bring things back to their best. Likewise, deal with limescale and/or mould around tiles: another simple win.

Three simple rules to remember are: if something needs replacing, then replace it. If something is broken or doesn’t work properly, then fix it. And if something detracts from the look of your property, then put it right.

The key is to ensure that people are not left wondering whether living in your rental property would be a life of compromised practicalities or enjoyment. If one of the burners on the hob doesn't work, that is going to become frustrating and could even put someone off entirely. If showering is an unpleasant experience because the hose leaks or the thermostat has ‘a knack’ to make it work, you're not going to have long stays or generate much goodwill.

So think about the benefits of attracting good tenants and the ongoing value of your property, as well the upfront cost of repairs and maintenance.

Presentation
From photographs to viewings, the odds are well and truly in favour of a well-presented property. And whether yours is empty or furnished, there are things you can do to create exactly the right impression and enthusiasm among quality tenants.

First things first, make sure your property is clean and smells clean. This goes for every rental home but is particularly important in empty ones with no furniture or belongings: when everything is bare, all eyes will be on your walls, floors and fittings. Many tenancy agreements stipulate that tenants should have the property professionally cleaned for checkout, so make sure you hand your property to them as clean as you’d like it returned.

In furnished lettings, it can be hard to convey a sense of home when a property isn’t lived in, but you can certainly improve things with a few well-placed accessories.

A couple of cushions on the couch; a rug on the floor; bedding on a bare mattress… These can radically improve the look and feel of your property, both in photographs and on viewings. Then they can then go back in a box – or back to your home – once they’ve served their purpose, leaving you with a set of photographs to use again at a later date.

Marketing
After investing your time and money in all of the above, wouldn’t it be a shame for no-one to find out about your property?

The diversity and quality of advertising varies hugely between agents, so take care to choose an agent who offers the best exposure for your property. And whilst online marketing is vital, don’t forget to pick an agent with a strong High Street presence – you’d be surprised at just how many tenants call into our offices on a Saturday, looking for their next home!

Treat the essential information about your property as part of the marketing. Supply the details tenants will be interested in to help them make a decision and to show them they’re getting a professional landlord. How the heating and boiler work, a list of local amenities, they might not need it all now, but getting those questions answered immediately removes delays and uncertainties.

Referencing & terms
Now that you’ve done your part, it’s time to give yourself comfort that whoever is asking to live at your property is as good as they seem.

There are cases of private landlords taking someone’s word for where they work and how much they earn. Some are too trusting to take security deposits and even hand over keys on a handshake rather than with a signed tenancy agreement.

While these might be lovely qualities, you owe it to yourself to be as sure as you can be that the people living in your property are capable of paying the rent and are responsible tenants. You also need an enforceable legal tenancy agreement to properly deal with any problems that might arise, no matter how unlikely.

The most important step in agreeing to rent your property to someone is the referencing process. We perform checks on the employment history, rental history and credit history/rating of every adult who will be living at your property to build an accurate picture and to recommend to you that you proceed.

If you are unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most tenants are very open about their lives and will be happy to answer any concerns you may have around how someone is likely to look after your property.

We also make sure that we receive a security deposit and the first month’s rent in cleared funds before keys are handed over. We don’t allow tenants to pay their security deposit in instalments: that could be a red flag over someone’s financial position, and can add complications around the tenancy deposit legislation.

With due diligence and with presenting your rental property to its very best, you’ll find you attract the quality of tenant you desire, no matter what sort of property you are renting out.

If you have a property for rent and you’d like us to help you find new tenants, or if you’d like any other advice around being a landlord, we’re here to help – just drop us a line, give us a call, or arrange a valuation here.

Tring office: 01442 820420
Berkhamsted office: 01442 863000