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Find the best tenants for peak buy-to-let performance

Published: 27/06/2019 By Jane Robathan

Everyone wants the best rental return, so how do you get it? It's been a tough time for landlords. With the Tenant Fee Ban now in place, Section 21 notices in debate and rumours about rent caps as part of our future, as the buy-to-let industry evolves.

Landlords are still adjusting to major changes, namely the tempering of mortgage interest tax relief and higher stamp duty charges for second (plus) homes. These two stealth taxes cut into every landlord’s profit. So, what can a landlord do to protect themselves? We say, find the very best tenants and hang onto them.

If you are serious about gaining the maximum yield, you need to put your tenants first. By looking after your customers, you'll gain the best returns and attract the most responsible tenants in the market.

The best tenants pay their rent on time, look after your property and stay for longer. Here's how to get hold of the best tenants in the market.
 
The top end of the rental market requires a silver-service approach. We know what this market wants. If you can keep on top of a few simple things and invest in a couple of head-turning additions, you’ll find competition for your digs will be heated. Follow our advice and you’re more likely to find yourself able to choose from competing sets of tenants.

  • Keep paintwork fresh (do the whole premise at least every five years and touch-up the over-trafficked areas in between)
  • Make sure your kitchen is in good shape and includes a dishwasher
  • A touch-sensitive light-emitting bathroom cabinet is not expensive but is very on trend,while silicone and grout must be kept fresh
  • Dress windows with made-to-measure blinds (online suppliers are very good value)
  • Keep communal areas tidy, ask neighbours to remove belongings and clutter. If there isn’t one already, put up a pigeonhole system for personal mail
  • If you can, it’s a great idea to install a secure bike shelter outside. Many young professionals cycle to work and look for properties that can store bikes easily
  • For homes with a shared or private garden, it may be worth your while to get a gardener in once/twice a year to tidy it up
Good tenants have a grown-up, responsible attitude and are good communicators. Tap into this by encouraging open dialogue. It’s a good idea to give your tenants a handbook explaining vital and useful things about the property such as where the stop cock is and who the neighbours are. Your approach will help them in times of trouble and could prevent serious damage. At the very least, it’ll help them feel settled and considerate of their surroundings.


Now you’ve attracted the right type of tenant, how do you get them to stay for a while? Here’s what we’d recommend:


  • Don’t put the rent up automatically. Watch the market and speak to your agent. Having your property empty for 1-2 months will cost far more than increasing the rent
  • Deal with repairs quickly and professionally, keeping everyone informed 
  • Keep your paperwork up-to-date and make sure your certificates and safety checks are done and recorded on time
  • Respect your tenants’ wishes. If you need to contact them, do it during working hours (unless there’s an emergency) and never, ever turn up without giving them the appropriate notice
Making sure your tenancy goes smoothly is a large undertaking. Ensuring you’re on the right side of the law is a whole new can of worms. There are 150+ regulations to abide to as a landlord and falling short of just one of them can make the difference between running a successful let or ending up with a serious fine.