There are significant benefits for landlords and tenants to accept longer tenancies. Many of our landlord clients have tenants who have chosen to rent for over five years, including some approaching two decades. And whilst other tenants are more transient, a harmonious relationship between landlord and tenant is key for a longer tenancy. Here are our top tips on how to do this successfully;
1. Ensure you are clear on any agreed conditions within the lease from the outset. List in writing, for example, any agreed maintenance works which will be carried out prior to the start of the tenancy. Maintenance issue frequently arise when tenants first move in: loose door handles, incomplete sets of keys or missing light bulbs may seem like minor issues, but starting the relationship positively is essential. The moral of the story is to always deliver what you promise.
2. Keep the relationship professional. Your property is likely to be one of your largest assets and therefore should always be dealt with in a business-like manner. Although it is important to remain courteous and polite, avoid over-familiarity and developing a “friendship” to avoid potential awkwardness later – you may have to chase for unpaid rent, or worse.
3. Respond to any tenant requests in a timely manner. It is reasonable to wait for a few days for a plumber to unblock a sink, but it is not reasonable to organise this in a few weeks’ time when you are back from holiday. Frustrated tenants only lead to greater problems in managing the tenancy.
4. It is okay to say ‘no’ to an unreasonable tenant request. Many landlords are so eager to accommodate requests, they may agree to unnecessary work or authorise the tenant to carry out work themselves. The tenants need to fulfil their normal tenant-like responsibilities, such as cleaning and minor housekeeping maintenance, but allowing the tenant to undertake significant works is not recommended and can cause more problems than it is worth. It is your responsibility to maintain the flat, so take control!
5. Maintain your property to a high standard. The Barbican rental market demands quality. Redecorate between tenancies, replace flooring sooner rather than later and pay attention to fixing the small details. A redecorated flat can appear tired and drab after a five year tenancy if proper care and attention has not been paid.
6. Review the rent annually. Recognise and value reliable tenants, but ensure you keep up with the rental market for the property type you hold.
7. Make regular inspections. Inspect the property as regularly as permitted within the tenancy agreement to ensure there are no surprises. Well-paid tenants in impressive jobs are not sheltered from the vicissitudes of life, and it is often during a routine inspection when you will sense that something is amiss. Regular inspections will also indicate if a tenant has effectively moved out and the property is being sub-let – tenants using Airbnb have become a nasty surprise for many an unsuspecting landlord.
8. Keep up-to-date with the relevant legislation. There is ever increasing stringent Government legislation for tenanted properties. Gas, electric and fire safety have quite rightly been made a priority, but in recent years, landlords have also become liable if they fail to follow more involved statutory controls. The list of such compliance points is too extensive to list here, but ensure your property meets Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), Right to Rent checks, and deposit protection provisions, to name just three.
If you are time-poor or simply prefer not to deal with any of the above issues yourself, the residential team here at Daniel Watney LLP would be very pleased to assist. We are a firm of surveyors acting for numerous private and portfolio clients in and around the City, with proven experience over many decades. Your apartment will be assigned to one of our highly experienced Property Managers, and you can choose to keep in contact as little, or as much, as you like. Many of our clients live abroad and are pleased they can rely on us to deal with all their rent, maintenance and tenancy issues without the need to ever visit the property.
For peace of mind, do contact us to discuss your property requirements.