Helping your tenants move into your investment property
I recently described some of the key strategies we use to help buy-to-let landlords during our tenant vetting process to avoid tenants from hell. Finding great tenants isn’t the end of the story. Once they’ve signed the tenancy agreement, you’ll want to make sure you keep those tenants.
As a property management company we’ve met buy to let landlords who have done all the legwork during the vetting process, and then not backed it up afterwards. They think that the search process is all there is to get great tenants. After a few months, the tenant goes bad and becomes one of those tenants from hell.
Here I’ll explore ways in which you can show straight off the bat that the tenant has made the right decision by picking your buy-to-let property as their new home.
1. See it from your tenant’s perspective
Your tenants have already done a lot to get to the moving-in day. They’ve filled in their tenancy application, signed the tenancy agreement, and paid the deposit. (Read our article “Everything a landlord wants to know about tenancy deposit protection but is afraid to ask” to make sure you don’t fall foul of the law.) As if all that wasn’t stressful enough, they’ve now come to moving day with even more worries to overcome.
Your tenant has to pack everything they own, coordinate the removal van, stop their children from wandering off and get some shopping in to eat in the evening. They’ll probably have concerns about their new neighbours, be fretting about how to get registered with a new GP, and have worries about how to get the kids to their new school.
The first thing you can do as a great buy-to-let landlord is seeing things from the perspective of your tenants. It’s been a stressful process – what can you do as a landlord to make it easier?
2. Make sure the property is ready for your new tenants
If you were moving into a new home, there are a few things that you’d expect the buy to let landlord or previous owner to have done. Make sure your tenants move into the home that you’d want to move into:
- Have it professionally cleaned.
- Ensure that there are no belongings left from previous tenants (empty all the cupboards in the kitchen, leaving only the items on the property inventory).
- Cut the grass.
- Clean the windows.
- Make certain that all minor repairs and maintenance issues are taken care of between tenancies.
In short, let your new tenants know that you are a landlord who cares about your buy-to-let property, and about your tenants.
3. Provide a welcome pack
Your new tenants may be new to the area. They’ll probably have to hit the ground running. They’ll have to go to work and take care of their day-to-day responsibilities as well as reorganise their lives. A welcome pack will help them to get things under control quicker. Include things like:
· Utility information
A list of utility companies and phone numbers for emergencies, or make sure that their billing details are correct.
· Refuse collection schedule
Moving in creates a lot of rubbish, as does daily living. Leave a schedule of the refuse collection, so the tenants know which type of garbage goes in which bin, and when collected.
· Amenities information
Where are the local hospitals, GP practices, and dentists? Is there a direct dial number for the local police station? What’s the quickest way to the school? How about providing a timetable of local buses and trains?
Your tenant will appreciate all of this information, and the time it saves them in looking up contacts, names and addresses.
· Information about parking
Don’t forget to provide information about parking, especially if there are requirements for residential parking permits, or need to register cars with the service company that administers parking for the apartment block. If it is a gated community, what’s the code for access? Will any guests need to have their cars registered with the service company?
4. Provide a tenant’s pack
A tenant’s pack should include other useful and necessary information that your tenants will need, perhaps on an ongoing basis. For example:
- A copy of the tenancy agreement
- Emergency contact details
- Information detailing how to report any problems or issues (Our repair reporting system makes this easy, and speeds up the process of taking care of maintenance and repair issues)
- Details of what your landlord’s insurance cover
- Details of what insurance they should purchase to cover their belongings and personal effects
5. A neighbourhood guide
Your new tenants will appreciate a guide to their new neighbourhood. Let them know how to get to the local takeaways, convenience stores and supermarkets. Direct them to the local market, making sure you tell them what day of the week it takes place. It might sound ridiculous, but it’ll help set the tone for their whole tenancy.
They may be coffee drinkers or enjoy a Friday night tipple. Provide information on the nearest café and local public house.
Help them with directions to the nearest gym and sports centres: pick up a leaflet from each and include it in your neighbourhood guide.
Are there any good countryside walks nearby, or other places of interest? What about local clubs, such as fishing, rugby and football, and golf societies?
All of this information will help to show your tenants that you care about them and that they haven’t simply moved into a box to live in for a few months: they’ve made a long-term lifestyle choice.
6. Give your tenants a moving in pack
Similar to a welcome pack, but this time containing all the things that they will need on their first day. They’ll probably be so busy with moving in that they’ll forget all the essentials for a comfortable first night:
- Tea bags
- A pint of milk
- A couple of bottles of water
- A couple of rolls of loo paper
- Washing up liquid
- Hand soap
- A token welcome gift
You might even consider leaving a loaf of bread and butter so that your new tenants can enjoy a slice of toast with their tea in the morning. And for that traditional moving in dinner – how about supplying a few local takeaway menus?
7. Finally, congratulate them on a wise choice of home and buy-to-let landlord
Your tenants will want to relax in the evening after they’ve moved in. It’s been hard work, and they’ve finally got the kids to bed. They’ll want to put their feet up and unwind. What better way than with a bottle of Cava and a couple of scented candles? A simple home-warming gift like this says an awful lot about you as a landlord.
Doing the things that I’ve outlined above takes a couple of hours to arrange, and a few quid to put into place. But it’s not expensive, and the payback is enormous. When your tenants’ lives are made easier with essential information at their fingertips, your life as a buy-to-let landlord is made easier.
Providing a welcome pack and congratulating them on their new home will mark you out as an excellent landlord, and one that your tenants would be wise to stay with.
Having a great relationship with tenants is the key to being a great landlord. And when you’re a great landlord, you’ll find your tenants probably stay longer and are probably willing to pay a little extra in rent. And there’s the payback for your efforts, right there. It’s why we make sure that we treat your tenants with respect, and put in place all the tools and procedures that make communication and relationship building easier.
Contact one of the Ezytrac team today or me on +44 01522 503 717, and we’ll be happy to discuss all the methods and procedures we use to make sure you benefit from great tenants in your buy-to-let property.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA