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Landlords looking for tenants who won’t take up much of their time should be targeting families, according to new research. Families take up less time than any other tenants when it comes to property management, according to National Landlords Association research. Investing in properties that are more energy-efficient also pays off, as they take up less time. However, tenants who are on benefits or migrant workers are the most work and can take up to six hours more of a landlord’s time a week.

The region that a landlord invests in also affects how much time they spend on property management. Those in the North West and Yorkshire spend the most time, while landlords in the West Midlands and the East of England spend the least amount of time. The NLA research asked landlords to give an estimation of how much time they spent managing their property, on things like requests for maintenance, administration and tenant queries.

The findings make for interesting reading, as landlords who have families and young couples as their tenants will spend one working day per week – an average of eight hours – on property management. Landlords whose tenants are migrant workers or on benefits can spend up to 12 hours a week dealing with property maintenance. Welfare cuts and Universal Credits mean some people on benefits are finding it difficult to meet rental payments, which means more involvement and, therefore, more time taken up by the landlord.

Executive lets are also costly in terms of time and these also take an average of 12 hours a week. Landlords in North-West England spend 10 hours a week, on average, managing their portfolio, while landlords in the South-East spend about five-and-a-half hours.

Energy-efficient properties take two hours less each week for landlords, possibly because they are newer and need less maintenance.

NLA chief executive, Richard Lambert, said the research shows that families are reliable, good long-term tenants. However, some landlords are put off because they believe families with children will cause more wear and tear or damage to both the property and its contents. Yet if the property is maintained properly, then tenants will stay for longer. This applies particularly to families who like stability so their children do not have to move schools.

Landlords can save time and energy on property maintenance by automating much of the work. They can use software and apps to keep up with contracts, requests for maintenance, the validity of gas certificates, bills and rents, for example.

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