If Landlord’s fear one thing, it’s a void period. When you property is ‘in between tenants’, it just sits there empty, raiding your bank, without giving anything back. The obvious solution is to avoid void periods all together, but just how can you achieve this?
Renting to DSS tenants is an obvious answer, but this can be a poisoned chalice. Avoiding the particular challenges that come from DSS tenants and finding a way to limit void periods is the dream. But is it possible?
The answer may come from observing the practices of large businesses. It is a well-known fact that it costs more to bring in new customers than it does to keep hold of existing ones. In other words, it’s all about emphasising and expanding Customer Service.
There’s no reason why landlords can’t take the same approach. Aim to keep your tenants forever and void periods will never appear. Marketing costs go down and everyone can enjoy the increased security that consistency brings.
Here are my top 3 tips on how to retain your tenants.
1. Be the ‘Yes Man’.
Tenants want a landlord that says yes to their requests. They want to feel like their home is improving over time and you should to. The costs of these requests will often be small – especially compared to the price of a new tenant – and beneficial to you in the long run. Fitting a new shower, replacing the old bed and upgrading the fridge will help keep your tenants happy and increase the capital value of your property.
If you receive any requests that might reduce the value of your property, then a compromise with the tenants is totally acceptable. If they want a pet, for example, there’s no harm in saying yes, so long as they pay a higher security deposit and sign a pets clause, keeping them responsible for any damage that may arise as a result.
2. Buy a range of ‘Upgrading’ Properties.
No matter how hard you try to keep your tenants happy in one property, there will almost certainly come a time when they simply need a larger place. Families grow and the amount of bedrooms they’ll need will grow, too. For this reason, it’s worth investing in a range of different properties, so your happy tenants make you their first port of call at moving time.
If they’re happy with you, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t swap properties, without swapping landlords, too.
3. Buy on Demand.
No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t invest in enough properties to suit all your tenants’ needs. What you can do is buy a property based on their specific desires. This option isn’t for all, as it can become a significant increase in your portfolio, but for those looking to expand with the demand, this can keep you renting to the same tenants for years and years and years.
Image courtesy of flickr.com/photos/oddsock
Hunter T Jones works for landlordsinsurance.org.uk, experts in finding the right insurance for property owners. He owns several properties in the West Midlands.