How to retain tenants for longer

17th July 2019 posted in LANDLORDS

The issue of how long a tenant should stay in your rental property is an interesting one for many landlords. Your thoughts will influence your hopes, but the actions of individual tenants will likely shape your feelings too. If your current tenant cares for your property and pays rent on time each month, you will be happy for them to stay as long as they like.

If your current tenant causes problems and doesn’t pay consistently, you will likely be glad to hear they are moving out. Therefore, there is no set rule as to how long a landlord wishes a tenant to remain in place for, but there are reasons why you should look to retain tenants for longer.

All landlords hate void periods. When your rental property is empty, you don’t generate any income. You may be able to afford this situation for a month or two, but most landlords are unable to absorb this for too long. Before too long, you need to have a tenant in place, or your business may be in jeopardy.

The following table shows the consistency of average void periods for landlords in 2017 and 2018, indicating it is a cause for concern amongst many landlords.

There are also costs involved in finding new tenants. When you know your current tenant is moving out, you need to advertise, you need to vet tenants, and there is a lot of work to carry out before they move in.


Tenant Fees Act places landlords under greater pressure

The recent introduction of the Tenant Fees Act has also placed landlords under more significant financial pressure when a tenant moves in. The Act aims to make moving into rental accommodation more affordable for tenants, but it means landlords have to absorb more costs. Therefore, if you have a tenant who stays in your rental property for longer, you don’t have to deal with these costs as often, which is excellent news for landlords.
However, if you are keen to retain tenants for as long as possible, the findings from a recent survey may not allow you to be too hopeful or optimistic.
The first group focused on in the study is the “younger independents” group, which represents people aged between 18 years and 24 years of age. This group intends to rent for 2.6 years, but they are also likely to move once in this period. Therefore, a landlord letting to someone in this group, based on these figures would likely have the tenant in their property for over a year, close to a year and a half.
The next group which was studies was the “flexible professionals”, who are people aged between 25 and 44 years old, who don’t have any children. Their intentions are similar to the “younger independents” in that they intend to rent for two and a half years. This group also expects to move at some point during their rental lifetime, so landlords may only have the tenant present for around a year.
For landlords looking to retain tenants for a long time may wish to focus on the “reconciled with renting” group, who are 45 years or older. This group states an intention to rent for around six years, and this group doesn’t expect to move too often. If you are a landlord looking for consistency in your rental activities, this may be the group of tenants to focus your time and energy on.

Of course, people’s intentions don’t always equate to their actions. While many people enter rental accommodation with the aim of leaving shortly to buy property, this doesn’t always work out. Therefore, just because some of the groups state an intention to leave the rental property in a short period doesn’t mean that they will. However, the fact that the “reconciled with renting” group seem happy to stay in one place during their rental period is a factor to consider.
Another thing that this study doesn’t take into consideration is the steps a landlord can take to find the right tenant, and provide them with reasons to stay. If you want tenants to stay in your rental property, you must make them feel welcome, and help them think that they won’t receive a better standard of service elsewhere.


The vetting process is crucial in finding suitable tenants

During the vetting process, feel free to ask tenants what their intentions are. If a tenant seems happy to stay around for a while, they may be a more attractive proposition than a tenant who is only looking for a short-term solution.

While landlords need to consider crucial financial information, credit checks and background checks on prospective tenants, there is no harm in learning what they intend to do. This information may assist a landlord in finding a tenant who decides to stay in their rental property for many years to come.


Can you offer more services to make a tenant feel welcome?

If a tenant feels happy and welcome in your rental property, they will be less likely to move out. Therefore, ask if you can offer additional services that help a tenant to feel settled. Simple tasks like collecting delivery parcels, offering extra storage solutions or a dry cleaning service may provide tenants with a strong reason to stay with you.


Maintain the condition of your rental property

If your rental property is in excellent condition, you will attract suitable tenants. If you maintain the status of your rental property, tenants will be happy to stay in the home. The tenant has a role to play here too, but if you remain on top of maintenance and repair work, your property will remain an appealing one, removing the likelihood of a tenant wishing to move out and live somewhere else.

If you’re a landlord looking to care for your tenants and persuade them to stay with you for longer, you need help from the local specialists. At Country Properties, we are pleased to say we have helped many landlords provide their tenants with the highest quality service. To improve the services you offer, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to assist you.