Lynsey Sweales became a landlord back in 2001 when she was just twenty one years old. She took up the opportunity of a buy-to-let mortgage through her employer at the time, The Money Centre, where she became a director before moving on to run her own businesses in 2008. She divides her time between running her rental properties, representing the NLA as the East of England Regional Representative and running her own successful marketing and PR business. Here she gives her tips on how to avoid the voids in rental properties.
Having been a successful landlord for ten years, I am often asked how I cope with void periods on my rental properties. However the truth is although I always budget for a void period every year, none of my properties have ever been empty for long.
I believe this is down to these five simple tips I have picked up along the way…
– The most important tip for keeping your tenants is finding the right tenant for your property in the first place. For example, I always do my own viewings. For me, they are an opportunity to meet prospective tenants and ask them questions and vice versa. Make sure you ask all potential tenants to come back to you after their viewing to confirm if they would like the property and how long they would like to sign up for. Give them the option if you can as most tenants appreciate it. If they do want to rent the property (and they pass the all-important credit referencing), read through the tenancy agreement with them, ensuring they understand it.
– A good relationship with your tenant is worth a lot – so value it. Remember, tenants are living in your investment so its important they look after it and it is equally important that they feel valued as your customer. Sending a card and bottle of wine when they move in is a nice inexpensive touch and shows early on that you value them. Also encourage them to be open with you about any problems they have.
– Respond quickly and efficiently to any problems. The sooner you are seen to deal with any problems (such as broken showers or heating problems) the more you will be seen as being someone who values them as a tenant. Being a landlord is not a 9 to 5 job – so be prepared to make yourself as easy to contact as possible.
– Maintain the standard of your property. This doesn’t just mean when it is on the market for rent! Don’t just wait for the tenants to contact you with a problem, contact the tenant and ask them if everything is ok with the property and even ask if you can pop in to have a look round to see if everything is in working order and looks up to standard.
– Contact your tenant two months before the end of their tenancy agreement. Don’t leave it until a week or day before their tenancy ends. If they say they are looking to move out, ask them why. Is it something you can resolve? You are running your rental properties as a business, but if they are really good tenants and you want to keep them it may be worth keeping the rent the same.
Ultimately, keeping a good tenant is worth a lot and a happy tenant may well stay with you for many many years. If you want them to look after your property, then I believe looking after and keeping good tenants is worth the unsociable hours of being a landlord.
If you are a tenant and would like some guidance on renting – here is our guide to renting.
You can follow Lynsey on Twitter on @nlaeastofeng and or @Lynseysweales