Over recent months, the Government and leading housing charities have put increasing pressure on landlords to improve the quality of their rental properties and tenancy conditions.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the House of Commons passed a second reading of a private members’ bill that aims to raise standards of rental housing.
The Government is pushing all landlords – both social and private – to ensure that their properties are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout their tenancies, with pressure accelerating in the wake of last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster.
Further legislation, which will come into force from April this year, requires properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above in order to be legally let on a new tenancy.
Much of this legislation was designed to drive out rogue landlords from the sector, but it remains to be seen how successful it will be.
However, the vast majority of landlords provide good quality rental housing for their tenants. So, what can you do to attract new tenants and keep them happy?
Recent research from ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents) found that, in December 2017, letting agents had more stock on their books than at any time since early 2015.
With the huge rise in Build to Rent accommodation and the growth of buy-to-let, tenants are now seeing much more choice than ever before. This means that they can expect more from their landlords, so you need to set yourself apart to attract reliable renters.
Rochelle Trup, the Finance Director of property management software firm Arthur, explains: “Landlords need to ensure they have the right processes in place to attract good tenants and keep them happy during the duration of their tenancy. Our research shows that tenants want to be listened to and to believe that the person that manages them is professional. They don’t want a friend, rather an arms-length professional relationship. It’s their home until it’s not. They pay rent and expect a service.
“Communication is key. Listening to tenants involves largely reacting to issues during the tenancy. Responding to tenant queries quickly, giving them plenty of notice before entering the property for inspections and viewings, and offering flexible leases go a long way to keeping them happy.”
She continues: “When a landlord has a good relationship with their tenant, issues such as late or no payment of rent and damage to property may be minimal. Maintaining a good relationship with a tenant requires some effort from the landlord, and it won’t be achieved by putting tenants into a property and then ignoring them. Neither will it be developed by micro-managing and constantly checking on the tenants while they are trying to get on with their lives. With the right processes in place, landlords can keep tenants happy and it can be a win-win for everyone!”