At our recent NLA Conference, we were overwhelmed with stories from our members about how they look out for their tenants. So we asked some of our NLA Representatives to share with us some of their best tips to ensure their tenancies run smoothly.
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Getting to know your tenants is the obvious place to begin. London area representative Richard Blanco says he always starts with an induction meeting: “I go through all aspects of the property with them and explain how everything works – the appliances, the heating, and what days the bins are collected. I help them choose the cheapest energy supplier for their needs. I also let the neighbours know a new tenant has moved in so they can make contact with each other and look out for each other.”
A reliable and understanding landlord will always be a hit with tenants. As James Fraser, representative in the East of England explains: “I’m happy to adjust rent payment so it fits in with a tenant’s pay day. I’m also big on getting any problems repaired quickly so if something goes wrong or breaks down in the property, I’ll try my best to have it fixed on the same day.”
Julie Woolfenden, NLA representative for the West Midlands has some good tips on how to handle the paperwork when a new tenant moves in. “I always keep duplicates of everything – the tenancy agreement, energy performance certificates, gas safety certificates and appliance instruction booklets. I always give the tenancy agreement to the incoming tenant a few days before they move in to give them time to read over it.”
“When they move in there is a Welcome Card waiting, which also explains how the appliances work, the rubbish collection days, how to shut off the water stop cock and how the electricity, gas and central heating works.”
Understanding that a tenant might fall into difficulty and then working with them to resolve any matters is key, as London Representative Maryann Richmond-Coggan explains: “I always support tenants during difficult times. If one is facing a tough time after losing their job I’ll make concessions and work with them to develop a payment plan to pay their rent along with any arrears they might owe. I find it’s much better to work with an existing tenant than to go through the hassle of possession proceedings and finding a new one.”
Tailoring a property to a particular kind of tenant will mean that your property is set apart from the competition. West Midlands representative Mary Latham lets to students: “I provide a Wi-Fi internet service to tenants. It doesn’t cost much to set up but makes the world of difference, especially for students. If the property has a garden I make sure its low maintenance as not all tenants have green thumbs! I install weed barriers and plant shrubs that require little attention. I also give tenants a list of practical information when they move in – bus and train timetables, maps, local take-away shops, restaurants, along with contacts for a doctor, dentist and taxis.”
Keeping the property well maintained and everything in good working order is how Kent representative Marion Money ensures tenants are happy. “If you promise the tenant a new kitchen when you are showing them around the property before they move in, then make sure you do it. Keep up with your maintenance. Get the boiler serviced during the warmer summer months when the heating isn’t being used. That is also the time to do any outside painting. Have the gutters cleared of leaves in autumn and make sure the tenant tests the heating system each year before it gets too cold.”
There are many ways landlords can help their tenants, and of course a happy tenant means a happy landlord. If you’ve got any more landlording tips we’d love to hear them – just leave a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter – #goodlandlord.