How to treat tenants to keep them in your property for longer
Whatever business you are in, customers will leave you if you don’t look after them. Your buy-to-let property portfolio is no different. If you don’t look after your tenants, they will move on. Each time a tenant moves out, you’ll suffer a costly void period.
The least successful buy-to-let investors have little time for their tenants. Typically, these are DIY landlords, perhaps in business for the first time, who haven’t yet grasped that the tenant is king. It is the tenant who pays your mortgage. They are who you have charged with looking after an asset worth possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds. You spent a lot of time and effort finding and vetting to get the best tenant. Why wouldn’t you care for your tenant?
It baffles me how many landlords treat their tenants with disdain. You reap what you sow. The worst tenants are usually those that have been treated the poorest. These are the ones most likely to trash your property, miss rental payments, and leave you with a big clean-up bill and expensive void period.
We’re often asked how we encourage tenants to stay in properties for longer and reduce the buy-to-let property investor’s void periods. Part of the answer is found in our core values of tenant management. Here are six policies and procedures which we employ when managing your tenants.
1. We’re responsive to complaints
If a tenant contacts us to complain about noise or criminal activity, we don’t brush the matter under the carpet. We listen, investigate and act. And we do this quickly. Similarly, if a neighbour to your property complains about your tenant, we take the same course of action.
2. We take the stress out of maintenance and repairs
Our repair reporting system makes it easy for tenants to report property maintenance issues when they occur. They can describe the problem and attach photographic evidence. It helps us to prioritise issues and send the right tradesperson as quickly as possible. They’ll be armed in advance with details of the repair needed. It cuts down on delays and unnecessary revisits and keeps repair costs down, too.
When it comes to regular maintenance work, we always discuss with the tenant to make sure that we schedule when it is convenient for the tenant. We remind them that work is due to be carried out a day or two before the appointment, to ensure they haven’t forgotten and the tradesperson’s time isn’t wasted.
3. We inspect properties regularly
We carry out regular property inspections, comparing the current state against the property itinerary. It also gives us the opportunity to connect with your tenant face-to-face. We’ll make sure that their tenancy is going well, and seek to put right any concerns they have. There may be property issues they haven’t raised before, or perhaps they are struggling with finances.
These meetings serve as warnings of many situations that could threaten your buy-to-let property success. We’ve often discovered that a tenant is considering moving during a property inspection. With this knowledge, we can either persuade the tenant to stay or get busy pre-marketing your property to new tenants – and thus minimise any void period.
4. We show empathy, but remain firm
The relationships we build with tenants help to ensure they speak to us more openly. If a tenant loses their job or runs into financial difficulty for some other reason, we want to be the first they tell. We’ll provide a sympathetic ear, and deal with tenants empathetically. If the problem is short-term, we’ll liaise with you and the tenant to come to a solution. Rest assured, though, that rent must be paid.
5. We always communicate courteously
Politeness and good manners cost nothing and reap the rewards. Whether communicating by phone, face-to-face, letter or email, we ensure we remain courteous at all times. It shows respect for the tenant, and in return, they are more likely to respect you and your property.
6. We treat tenants as humans, not an ATM
The landlord/tenant relationship is at the heart of every buy-to-let property business. The better this relationship, the more successful you are likely to be. Yes, it is your tenant who pays your mortgage but to treat them as an ATM is a grave error. Tenants want to be loved. They want to be cared for. In return, they will care for your property and pay their rent on time.
We remember that tenants are human. They have issues and problems the same as you and us. Life throws everyone a curve ball from time to time. Most of these will be short-term, and not affect you. But where they might (redundancy or a marriage split, for example), our relationship with your tenant means the impact on you should be negligible or avoided.
What kind of landlord are you?
Some landlords have such busy lives that their tenants fall to the bottom of their list of priorities. Others simply don’t care. Either way, if you aren’t putting your tenant first you are likely to suffer. If you don’t care about your tenant, how can you expect them to care about you?
If your tenants leave their tenancy early, or pay their rent late every month, or never report maintenance issues until they become costly repairs, it may be time to look at yourself:
- Do you have the time to dedicate to fostering a great landlord/tenant relationship?
- Are you a people person who finds it easy to be friendly and professional simultaneously?
If the answer to either or both these questions is no, get in touch with Ezytrac today on +44 01522 503 717. You are only a phone call away from the investment property management services that could make a world of difference to your buy-to-let profitability.
Yours in effortless property management,