Although the housing market is picking up – in fact is getting a little hot according to some commentators – there is still a huge demand for rental properties and supply does not meet demand. This means that as a landlord you can probably be quite choosy as to who you rent your property out to and thereby get some tenants who will respect the property and hopefully stay a while and pay the rent regularly, giving you a hassle free income. Attracting the right tenants does take some skill, though, so it is important to follow a few tips to get the best. Pricing is key – both over and under-pricing have their problems, so it is important to do your homework on the prices for the area. After that, there are a number of ways to make sure you get and keep the very best tenants you can, making your job as landlord as easy as it can be.
Clean and polish to impress
If you show your prospective tenants a tatty old house or flat, they won’t feel that you value it much and they may well soon feel the same – your property will soon be neglected and you will have your work cut out to bring it back up to scratch at the end of the tenancy. If you can display a clean and well maintained property from the outset, not only will you give the tenants something to aspire to but you are also likely to have attracted a better type of tenant in the first place. Your property deserves the best, so aim high.
Don’t skimp on the checks
If you take to a prospective tenant you might be tempted to rent them your property without doing checks for credit worthiness and good character. This is sometimes – probably usually – perfectly all right and it has to be said that a paper trail doesn’t always mean that your tenant will be reliable with the rent and responsible with your property, but it is a foolish mistake to save a few pounds on checks because you have a ‘gut feeling’. The only way to be sure is to ask for references and follow them rigorously. If you use an agent, they will do this for you and this is one of the best reasons to use an agent.
Use an agent
As above, an agent will make sure your tenant is a good one but it goes far beyond that. You should check the property regularly and although this needn’t take much of your time, it can be a problem if you work or live away from where your property is located. An agent does checks all the time, is experienced in what to look for and will make sure that everything is in order. Sometimes there are ‘red flags’ at an inspection that you might not notice – a smell of bleach doesn’t necessarily mean the house is being kept clean; it can also mean that there has been a frantic dash around to bring it up to scratch for the inspection. An experienced agent will look for signs of proper care being taken; a neat garden, s well-kept bathroom with tidy shelves and a clean oven (not smelling of bleach!). If you are going to make a business out of renting properties I would recommend using a local accountant to make sure that your books are accurate and correct.
Take a careful inventory
Again, an agent can help you here but it is not hard to do yourself. Go through the house before the tenancy begins and make a note of everything that might be considered a defect – for example, scuffed paint or a chipped sink. Although in a perfect world these would be put right before the tenancy begins, your rental price may be low to suit the area and this kind of thing won’t detract too much, so as long as they are listed, they can be left as they are. Then, when the tenant is present, go round again, pointing things out individually and make sure you have your signature and that of your tenant on the inventory along with the date. This can save a great deal of problems at the end of the tenancy when it comes to paying back or holding some of the deposit.