In a crowded market, it makes sense to position your property as strongly as possible to encourage quality tenants through the door. But what are the features that today’s tenants are looking for? If you want to be able to command high rents and enjoy solid occupancy, these are the features to consider:
Access to reliable high-speed WiFi is now a must for all types of accommodation. Every type of tenant expects to be able to access the internet from their accommodation and in the current climate, many people, from students to business professionals, may find themselves obliged to work, study and access entertainment digitally from home. Landlords who can provide this kind of service as part of a managed accommodation will find that tenants are prepared to pay a premium for the convenience, and to know that it is being taken care of.
High-end properties tend to command better rents if they have an outdoor space attached, but even small, urban properties will be more attractive if they come with some degree of outdoor space. Even tiny courtyard gardens, yards and balconies can be made into a feature with the right design, care and landscaping, with attention paid to the features that tenants want. This is likely to include a low-maintenance outdoor space (with maintenance ideally included in the rental service charge) and facilities to relax outdoors, such as bistro chairs and tables, outdoor sofas, fire pits and so forth.
Room to set up and office
This is an obvious benefit in the Covid age, and tenants everywhere are desperate for quality accommodations where they can host a reliable home office. Landlords who can offer space, WiFi, electrical sockets, office furniture and a room with a view will be able to command a premium.
The allure of a long-term tenancy should never be underestimated. Good tenants will usually be seeking to create a home environment and to invest in a rental that they can make into their long-term home. Wherever possible, consider offering a long-term tenancy for the best tenants.
Can you advertise your property’s sustainability credentials? Do you use eco-paint, use renewable energy utility tariffs and offer air filters indoors? Is your furniture from sustainable sources? Does your letting agency have a corporate social responsibility agenda? From ethical property inspection services through to sustainable policies, don’t underestimate the power of good, ethical and sustainable business practices, especially among the millennial age group.
A sense of community
People want to feel connected, which can be difficult in the pandemic era. Look to invest in accommodations which provide a sense of community, perhaps with a shared living space or even a foyer with seating and a chance to feel that people can engage and look out for each other.
We are all spending more time in our houses, so attractive decor is a must to command a rental premium. Relaxing neutrals tend to be the easiest way to market a property, and also have the benefit of encouraging a feeling of light and space into interiors.
Today’s renters want to be able to engage using technology. This could mean everything from using smart meters to smart fridges in the home, and by accepting the results of a property inspection app survey rather than engaging with laborious paper. If you can be available as a landlord via digital or social means, this also makes engagement fast and convenient.
Jobs are uncertain and the economy is struggling. So if you can drop the rent slightly to get in a good-quality tenant for a longer-term let, now is the time to do it. A willingness to negotiate may result in a better quality tenant and fewer of the costs associated with short-turnaround or problem tenancies. Offer a fair price for your accommodations and then use the right processes to ascertain the creditworthiness of your tenant applicants.
Another key trend for homes, in general, is greenery. Plants help to clear the air of pollution and provide a sense of calm, especially in urban spaces which may lack gardens. Consider adding plants to your properties – even in a foyer – and then maintain them. Tenants are likely to pay more for higher-end accommodations with thoughtful touches that are designed to promote their mental health and a broader wellbeing agenda.
What key trends are you seeing impact demand for your rental portfolio?