How to keep good tenants 1st Nov 2016

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland now represents 14% (350,000) of all households, and is set to keep on growing. As rental has become the norm for an increasing number of people, landlords want to do what they can to hold onto good, well-paying tenants. However tenants have higher expectations of their rental property these days, and so it is essential that landlords pay attention to them, and to their needs. So how to keep good tenants . . . that is the question . . . ?

Communication is key
Be reactive. If tenants report repairs, react immediately. You need to look after your property and therefore essential repairs must be dealt with, but also this is your tenants’ home and they deserve everything within it to be in full working order. Listen to requests from your tenants and give them due consideration. If you do not want tenants phoning you at 3am with a plumbing problem then consider using a letting agency such as The Key Place, who will deal with all repairs efficiently on your behalf.

Do not disturb
Landlords cannot enter the property whenever they want. This is against the law. Tenants must be given written notice. If they say no, negotiate a day and time with them, however bear in mind that they have the right to completely refuse access if they so choose. If this is the case, you will need to go through the courts.

Present your property well
It is essential that your property is well presented (internally and externally) in order to attract the right tenants in the first place. A poor quality property will fall to less desirable tenants, as most people will pass it by. Throughout the tenancy the property has to be well maintained – invest in improvements in order to maintain the value of your property. Allowing tenants to make their mark, such as painting walls (if they are able and the colour is agreed), putting up pictures using picture hooks etc, makes it feel more like the property really is their home, and they may well stay for longer.

Provide an inventory
A detailed record of the condition of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy lets landlords and tenants know where they stand. This can save time and arguments at the end of the tenancy. The Key Place use bespoke inventory software to create comprehensive inventories with embedded photographs if agreed with a landlord.

Rent increases
These should be fair, timely and reflective of market rents. You cannot increase the rent within the 6 month lease period. As the lease comes up for renewal, consider if you want to increase the rent and if you do then give the tenants reasonable written notice. The Key Place regularly reviews rents and will advise landlords accordingly.

Routine inspections
Regular inspections allow you to keep an eye on your property and to see if anything needs done. If you do identify issues then act on them. Tenants need plenty of advance notice of an inspection and you can only carry this out if they are in agreement. The Key Place carries out regular inspections and a feedback report is sent to landlords.

Remember, the only thing better than a good tenant is a good long-term tenant, and if you have a good long-term tenant who pays their rent and looks after the property, then you want to do everything you can to keep them. Good tenants are your most important asset. You must ensure that you treat them the way they would like to be treated.