As a landlord, it can be easy to assume that once a tenant is in place, the hard work is done.
But have you ever stopped to consider what makes a tenant a high quality match with your property? And beyond that, have you thought about the difference in experience between a good tenant and a bad one?
In this article, we’re sharing not only our tips and advice on how to attract and retain the very best tenants, but also the difference that having great tenants makes to your property rental experience.
We will also explore the value of our Tenant Find Service which can help landlords find the perfect match for their property.
But first, what does a good tenant look like, and what should you prioritise when seeking a great tenant for your property?
What does a good tenant look like?
In order to attract and retain the best tenants for your property, you need to know what you’re looking for. Having an idea of what a good tenant looks like will make it easier for you to prioritise certain traits and attributes during the viewing process – with the following all things to consider and look out for.
1. A good tenant will be able to communicate with you easily
This can be a difficult one to pinpoint early on, as without forming a relationship with the tenant you can never truly know what they will be like as a communicator in the long run.
However, one thing you can do is assess their communication in terms of booking the viewing, establish whether they turn up on time, and look at the questions they ask and how engaged they appear to be during the viewing.
If they demonstrate strong communication skills during these early stages, then you can be relatively confident that this will continue into a potential tenancy agreement – meaning that they are more likely to reach out if they have issues with the property or the payment schedule and respond quickly if you reach out to them with a request or question.
2. A good tenant will demonstrate efficiency
Again, this can be difficult to assess in the earliest stages of communication prior to a contract being signed. However, you can gain a sense of a prospective tenant’s efficiency with regards to how quickly they get in touch, arrange a viewing, and provide you with any follow up documentation requested.
If you have to keep chasing at the earliest stages, reaching out again and again for references or confirmation of a viewing, then this is a fairly sure fire sign that they could be difficult to manage as tenants – something worth acknowledging when seeking your ideal tenant.
3. A good tenant is not afraid of references and a credit check
We could say that a positive credit history and great references are integral to finding the right tenant, but if this is something that you reserve for only your shortlist of potential tenants, then assessing the tenant’s response to the need for a credit check and references can tell you everything you need to know.
Those with positive references and good credit will be more than happy to provide you with the information you need – those without such a glowing reputation may be more hesitant in agreeing to anything.
How to be selective about tenants as a landlord
One of the overriding questions that landlords ask us is about the logistics of being selective, and how best to ensure that your property ends up being filled by the right tenants.
While the marketing of a property is integral to attracting potential tenants, when it comes to being selective and ensuring that you find a good match for you and for your property, there are a few steps that we suggest following.
The first is to be present during viewings if you are self letting. But if you decide to use a trusted letting agent to manage the process, they will help to prioritise your needs and preferences during any viewings.
Remember, any agency that you work with is operating on your behalf and so needs to be well versed in exactly what you’re looking for as the landlord.
The second is to prepare a set of questions that will help you to dive into and understand both their reason for viewing your property, and the kind of lifestyle that prospective tenants lead. The right tenant for you will respect any guidelines and requests that you make, will be able to meet the regular payment deadlines set in the contract, and will be transparent with you from the early stages when dealing with any issues related to the property.
Finally, while it may seem restrictive to communicate your property rules early on in the process, doing so will ensure that any unsuitable candidates and prospective tenants are filtered out early on. This can include any policies you have in place for pets or smokers, as well as rules which relate to the surrounding neighbourhood (for example, if a flat or apartment location makes it difficult to operate appliances after a certain cut-off time each night).
Steps to finding great tenants
We’ve already talked at length about what makes a good tenant – but how do you find and attract them?
It’s at this stage that marketing becomes important, both in terms of how you market the property and where you choose to share and showcase the opportunity. Ideally, you want to reach the broadest possible market of potential tenants while ensuring that your marketing activity is targeted enough that you are reaching the right audience as opposed to those that don’t meet your specifications.
The best way to iron this out and work through your marketing strategy is to first identify who you want to target in terms of tenant, and then work out where they spend time online. Young professionals, for example, can be found on both traditional letting websites and on social media; families may be easier to find through letting websites and local online forums and groups, while older tenants are likely to be best connected with physical agents (more on this shortly!)
Once you know where you want to market your property, it’s time to take those all-important marketing photos – showcasing your property in its best light and demonstrating its versatility and potential for tenants from all walks of life. Use this opportunity to make sure the layout of the property is clear and that tenants are informed early on of whether the property is furnished or not, with thought given to the different ways that tenants could use the space available.
Remember that decorative preferences and colour schemes are incredibly subjective, so where possible keep the interior clean and neutral so that tenants are free to add their own personality to the space.
Feeling overwhelmed yet?
Finding the perfect tenant for your property can be a huge task – however, it’s not one you have to face alone. Earlier on we mentioned the use of a trusted agency in identifying and reaching the ideal tenant, but that’s not all they can do. An effective letting agent will act on your behalf from the very start of the whole process.
From creating marketing materials and conducting initial viewings to contract negotiations and ongoing management of the property – the team at Pat Robson & Co. offer all this and more as part of our immensely popular Tenant Find Service.
The Pat Robson & Co. Tenant Find Service
Our Tenant Find Service is operated on a ‘No Tenant, No Fee’ basis – meaning that we are so confident in our access to the best tenants on the market, that if we can’t find your ideal tenant then we won’t charge you a penny.
Combining the power of effective marketing and professional photography, we become an extension of you – negotiating contracts, offering accompanied viewings, compiling feedback from viewers, and chasing tenant references, all to ensure that the right tenant is placed in your property.
Existing landlords who partner with us find our service to be both comprehensive and supportive, as our expert team tap into their experience and knowledge of everything from the legal arrangements for a new tenancy to answering and dealing with everyday issues.
Safe to say, working with us makes finding your ideal tenant a simple and pain-free process.
But how do you keep them in place once you’ve found them?
How to retain tenants
Now, let’s say that you’ve done everything right – attracting a great tenant who respects you, your property, and the contract; who pays their rent on time, and always communicates the smallest of issues early on. How do you keep them?
Tenant retention relies on excellent and transparent communication on both sides, meaning that all of the touch-points mentioned earlier in relation to a great tenant, must be matched by your own willingness to be open and efficient as a landlord.
In practice, that means dealing with issues quickly, giving tenants plenty of notice about pending servicemen or work occurring in the property, and being understanding with an element of the human touch if they are struggling. Of course, there is a balance to be had, and if tenants are struggling to pay the rent or bills on a regular basis, their contract may need reviewing. However, a one off late payment for a good reason should be met with understanding if you want to be deemed a good and supportive landlord.
Another area that modern landlords need to be particularly aware of is the ever-changing landscape with regards to exactly what tenants in today’s market need. Home working spaces are more in demand than ever, with properties that boast their own garden or outdoor space among the most coveted with families and young tenants.
Finally, if you want to attract and retain the best tenants, you need to be open and let them know that you want them to stay, as soon as their contract approaches its renewal date.
Tenants are far more likely to consider staying if they hear from a happy landlord who wants them to stay – otherwise, they may feel that the end of the contract requires them to vacate at the end of the contract. If they’re good tenants, tell them!
Be the best landlord to attract the best tenants
We hope that this guide has provided you with some insight into not only what makes a good tenant but how to attract and keep them. With the rental market now more attuned than ever before to good value and to the quality and flexibility demanded by tenants, landlords who are up to date with modern requirements and preferences are likely to entice and attract the highest level of interest – with the best tenants for you depending on your property and your own preferences
For more advice on identifying, attracting, and retaining the best tenants, our Tenant Find Service and our expert letting agents are here to help.
Visit our website for more information on our services and to get in touch with our team.