The Guide to Managing Tenants Like a Profjpinvestment
Many landlords opt to manage their own buy-to-let property investment largely to save money on management fees, and a big part of achieving success is effectively managing their tenants.
Landlords who manage their own tenants find that they can be more generous with their time and care for tenants than agents can. This has both advantages and disadvantages: if a landlord is needed after hours, the landlord is better positioned to respond. However, this could potentially cause anxiety and extra pressure on a landlord.
Out of hours calls to landlords are typically a rare event, but when they do happen, as they occasionally will, the landlord is afforded a great opportunity to win the gratitude and appreciation of their tenant for coming out to help with the issue. And for landlords that live close to their investment property, this will be much easier to manage and less of a headache.
Being the recipient of tenant gratitude for being an attentive landlord is a great way landlords can build trust and rapport, a harmonious relationship that goes a long way in helping to manage your investment.
Keeping your tenants happy has a whole raft of benefits that include:
- Reduce void periods, and therefore loss of rental income
- Reduce expense and time on re-lettings
- It improves the chances of a tenant looking after your property
- Encourages your tenant to report needed repair work that, if left untouched, could get worse and be more expensive in the long run
- When the tenant does leave, you will ideally want access to the property while they are still living there to show potential tenants around
Be honest and accurate with your advertisement listing so the tenant knows exactly what to expect. This helps make sure that you only get the most suitable tenants apply and will therefore save everyone time.
Thorough due diligence checks on potential tenants are a must. You will be able to get a pretty good grasp of the tenant’s reliability and character to help you decide if they are right for you; someone with a bad track record is probably someone that you will want to void.
Part of the due diligence involves meeting the client face-to-face and asking questions, and encouraging them to ask you questions. The questions that they ask you are just as telling as the answers they give.
Get to grips with all the requirements around the paperwork when taking on new tenants. This involves making sure your assured tenancy agreement covers everything you need, all the safety checks have been done, and you have the relevant documentation to hand for tenants. Letting agents can help with this for landlords that don’t have a head for all the paperwork and requirements involved.
Have a detailed and accurate inventory prepared so you can go through it with the tenant when they move in. This is important so the tenant is fully aware of how to locate and use things like smoke detectors, fuse boxes, meters, stopcocks, and the safe operation of electrical appliances you provide.
Make sure that your tenant has multiple means of getting hold of you: phone number (plus an alternative if possible), email address, etc. The tenant will need to feel confident that when they contact you, they will receive a quick response, even if it means you can’t attend right away.
Every contact made with your tenant, whether in person or on the phone, presents a valuable opportunity to solidify your relationship with them. And when you attend the property to deal with the matter at hand, it is also an opportunity for a quick informal once over to see how the property is being looked after. Being flexible and approachable will also go a long way towards keeping things ticking over nicely.
Tenants will be able to see your professionalism at work when they see you are in full compliance with the requisite local standards and licensing rules. Holding membership of a landlord association trade body, although not an imperative, does show you and your intentions as a landlord in a positive light.
Collecting rent via a standing order will avoid many headaches for you. Trust me, collecting rent any other way will age you before your time and having to hear every excuse under the sun.
Regular maintenance and checks demonstrate that you care about your client’s safety and wellbeing, as well as about your property investment. Landlords’ buy-to-let insurance, annual gas safety checks, and electrical installation checks every 5 years are at the top of the list. For the more expensive and challenging things, such as gas boilers (soon to be a thing of the past), it’s not a bad idea to cinder a maintenance contract with an external provider to keep on top of things.
Finally, have a welcome pack!
Welcome packs aren’t just for holiday lets or hotels, they can also be for landlords. As well as containing essential information for clients to be aware of, such as contact details for tradespeople and emergencies, you can also place useful information about local amenities and transport links etc.
And for a bonus, why not leave a nice bottle of bubbly and a box of chocolates for them? For such a small cost, the lasting impression is priceless!