A happy tenant means a happy landlord.
Happy tenants pay their rent on time, they look after their rental homes and they stay longer.
And that means fewer costly void periods and less hassle.
But a tenant is, more often than not, only happy because of the actions you take as a landlord.
And if those actions are poor ones, happiness can turn to unhappiness in the blink of an eye.
So, how do you keep your tenants happy and, in turn, keep the smile on your face, too?
Landlord tips: How to keep tenants happy
1. Go the extra mile
Although tenants are certainly more demanding in 2019 than perhaps ever before, going the extra mile as a landlord can still help you stand out – as well as keep your tenants happy.
Often it can be something simple that really makes a huge difference.
If you’re renting out your property to a young professional couple with commuting needs, for instance, what’s the first thing they think of on the way to the train station in the morning?
That’s right, coffee!
So, consider offering a re-usable coffee cup with a new tenancy. It’s a small touch, but for tenants with an eco-friendly mindset, a gesture like that will certainly keep them smiling.
2. Stay in touch – but not too much
Communication between landlord and tenant can be a difficult art to master.
A lack of communication from a landlord can come across as uncaring to a tenant, while too much could be classed as borderline harassment.
The best balance to strike is to make sure your tenant knows the best way to contact you and to ensure you’re available when they need you.
Let your tenant know, when they move in, how you prefer to be contacted or, if someone else is the point of contact, how they should get in touch with that person.
And when the tenant does get in touch, respond promptly.
3. Fix things quickly
This comes neatly after the communication tip, because the one thing tenants despise most is a lack of action when something goes wrong.
Yes, that broken appliance will probably cost you money.
But putting off maintenance issues will only cause your tenant to assume you don’t care and that will almost certainly mean a void period approaching at pace.
Moreover, if your tenant thinks you don’t care about your property, why should they?
Dealing with maintenance issues quickly and efficiently is key, regardless of where each problem sits on the scale of emergency.
4. Let them decorate
Yes, we know this is a big deal.
But despite the fact landlords are generally a naturally sceptical bunch, putting a little faith and trust in your tenants can go a long way.
Allowing them to decorate, when asked, could mean they stay in your property longer as it will feel more like home.
Of course, you should lay down some ground rules on what kind of décor is acceptable and what isn’t, while also being clear that any damage could affect their security deposit.
But allowing tenants a little freedom really can make a huge difference.
5. Show compassion
Of course, you should always expect your tenant to comply with the terms of their tenancy agreement.
And the biggest term of all is paying the rent, in full and on time.
But before jumping in at the deep end when your tenant’s rent is late or not paid in full for the first time, take the time to find out what the issue is.
If there’s a valid reason why your tenant’s rent is late, such as the loss of a job or a bereavement, show some compassion.
Yes, reiterate that the rent does need to be paid, but a little leniency in these situations can have a really positive effect on your relationship with your tenant.
6. Be clear on decisions
If your tenants make a request that you just can’t act on, don’t simply dismiss them.
Explain your reasoning behind your decisions and they’ll be far more likely to understand from your point of view.
So, if your tenant asks whether a larger fridge freezer would be possible because they need to store additional food, consider the request.
While spending on a new appliance is an additional cost, it could mean your tenant sticks around beyond their initial tenancy, saving you money in void costs.
But if such a request is just a no-go, explain why.
7. Don’t increase the rent unless you really have to
Landlords’ bottom lines are under more pressure than ever.
But increasing a tenant’s rent is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Weigh up the value of the tenant you have in situ against the monetary gain of an increased monthly rent.
Would that particular tenant leaving cause more of a problem and greater expense in marketing during a void period than what you would gain from any increase in rent?
Sometimes it’s just better to maintain the status quo and if your tenant knows you’ve done them a favour by keeping their rent the same, they’ll be far more likely to stay on even longer.
8. Offer an incentive
Incentives can be great, whether you’re trying to tempt a new tenant into signing up or attempting to keep a great tenant already in place.
Considering offering to cover your tenant’s WiFi bill, or offer a Netflix subscription as part of the rent.
Those two relatively small costs would be dwarfed by the cost of a lengthy void period and marketing expenses while you search for a replacement.
If you want to keep providing an excellent service to your tenants, but do not have the time, please contact your local Parkers office today to see how we can help you manage your portfolio.