Landlords, here’s how to tackle tenant turnover

News at Howland Jones | 04/08/2023

You might be tempted to think that landlords have it easy at the moment while tenants are having a tough time. Rents are rising and demand is soaring – so it’s party time for the property owner, right?

Not necessarily. Many landlords have Buy To Let mortgages on their properties and they have seen their interest payments rise substantially over the last few months and any rent increases have probably been immediately mopped up by the lender. Maintenance and repair costs have gone up substantially with inflation and the mortgage rates on their own homes will be squeezing them, too.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) private rental prices rose by 4.7% per annum in the 12 months to April 2023 and it is likely they will continue to rise as the year goes on. But there are few out and out winners during periods of inflation so landlords should consider the benefits of holding on to good tenants – even when property demand is sky high and rental prices are increasing.

Reports problems

So what makes a good tenant?

It may be a bit obvious but first and foremost it’s got to be someone who pays their rent on time.

But when considering a potential long-term candidate, what else should a landlord look for?

Somebody who reports problems quickly, someone who is honest and someone who looks after the place – treats it like their own home (which, of course, it is!).

In the current economic climate I would add that the tenant should be reasonable and a good communicator who gets on well with the neighbours.

Right – so you’ve identified the tenant from heaven and they’re happy to stay. Why should you make an effort to hold on to them?

·         Because a new tenant could be everything your old tenant is not

·         Because every new tenancy will require some measure of ‘spruce up’, repair or maintenance

·         Because of the increasingly burdensome pre-tenancy checks like Right to Rent, credit history etc.

·         Because of the new round of listings and marketing costs

·         Because of the possibility of void periods

·         Because organising every new tenancy costs time and money.

So how do you keep hold of a good tenant?

Strangely enough, much of what makes a good tenant also makes a good landlord, too.

You’ll respond quickly to maintenance issues, you’ll communicate well and be prepared to see their point of view. For example, try to be flexible when arranging property visits for inspections or repairs.

Follow the rules when it comes to rent increases and try to be fair and reasonable (this does not mean being a pushover!).

Improving security

Have some respect for their home and don’t make significant changes without consulting them – try to make them feel they belong there and don’t ‘pop round’ at every given opportunity.

Be on the front foot when it comes to maintenance or property improvements – obviously this helps to protect your investment but it also shows you care about your tenant’s living space.

Think about ways you can make the property more eco-friendly like installing Smart meters or improving loft insulation.

Consider improving security measures around the property – safety is a big issue with many tenants. Are the locks in good working order? What about a burglar alarm?

In short, try to be the landlord you’d like to have if you were the tenant and you’ll feel the benefit of tenancies becoming marathons, not sprints.

Here at Howland Jones we can assist landlords to find tenants and manage their properties.

We cover the Derbyshire areas of Measham, Ashby, and Swadlincote, along with Tamworth, Coalville and Ibstock. We are delighted to help investors, so why not contact us?