More than 4.5 million households in the UK now live in rented accommodation, which is almost double the number in 2004.
Home ownership is now at its lowest level since 1985 and the rental sector is becoming a very important part in the housing market. This is welcome news for buy-to-let investors, particularly as more people will be tenants, and for longer periods, because of high property prices.
This growth has also increased tenants’ expectations of both rental properties and landlords. This is particularly the case for millennials, who are used to instant gratification. Tenants want appliances replaced or repaired quickly and to live in housing in good condition. It can lead to conflict if their expectations are not met, so the key to this is to be available for tenants to get in touch and to respond to their requests as soon as possible.
By creating a positive relationship with tenants, it means they are more likely to stay in a property and thus enable the landlord to enjoy a solid return on investment and steady income. One way of making sure all enquiries are dealt with and payments or inspections are up-to-date is by keeping a thorough record of all transactions. Software is available to keep all records in one place, whether it is in the cloud or via an app.
Landlords should also be willing to listen to any suggestions their tenants have about home improvements or new gadgets. These could add value to the property and, again, make the tenant feel happy and more likely to stay. Major repairs should be fixed as soon as possible, such as the heating needing to be repaired or the shower not working properly. Tenants have a duty to report any problems immediately, so they do not get worse. If a letting agent looks after your properties, then put it in writing what repairs they can arrange without your permission. Anything over a certain amount could need your agreement before the work goes ahead.
It goes without saying that a landlord needs the right insurance in place. General homeowners’ insurance is not enough and would be invalid if a claim is made. If there is a flood, fire or storm damage, an entire buy-to-let investment could be worthless if it isn’t covered by the right insurance policy. This insurance can also cover loss of rental income while the property is being repaired or cover the cost of providing the tenant with alternative accommodation. You should also recommend that the tenant has contents insurance to cover any personal items. Let your tenant know what insurance policy you have and point out what isn’t covered. Then it is their responsibility to get cover for their belongings.
By setting up a good, working landlord-tenant relationship, you will build a reputation as a professional person and, therefore, you will be more likely to be recommended. This is an effective marketing tool for getting your name seen in a positive light and carries far more weight than advertising. There is no better way to reinforce such a strong landlord-tenant relationship than with effective property inspection software.
Have you thought about InventoryBase as an option for your Property Inspection Reports?