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You can be a better landlord and forge long-lasting bonds with your tenants. This helps keep things friendly and eases some of the stress they might have. By going the extra mile with things like professionalism and flexibility, your tenants will be more supportive of the business.
Support and Empathy for the Community
Whether you have one or dozens of properties in an area, strong community support is essential. As a landlord, there are responsibilities beyond providing a roof over someone's head. Rather than thinking of tenants as income, a human approach is often the best. Housing services such as Millennia Companies understand this and actively work to support communities, with astounding results. And there's no good reason why you cannot do this, too.
Be a Better Landlord with Professionalism
Yes, letting property is a business. But it is one that requires an empathetic yet professional touch. The average age of a landlord is around 58. This means you may be out of touch with many of the tenants to whom you are letting. Intergenerational challenges are real, and you must try to see things from a younger person's point of view. Staying professional is the key role here, and it will help keep things friendly if something is going wrong or there's disagreement.
Draft a Fair and Honest Tenancy Agreement
The tenancy agreement is the contract that both parties sign. It outlines everything you expect from a tenant in return for a good home. It works both ways, and it must be fair. A tenant can be evicted if they are in serious breach of the agreement, and it covers you if something bad happens. However, tenants have rights under the law, and any agreement must uphold and recognize these rights. Racial, sexual, and gender bias can nullify an agreement in court.
Make Yourself and the Business Accessible
You probably already know that being a landlord becomes a full-time job, and there is a steady stream of never-ending tasks. Without accessibility, these can pile up and become so extensive that you fall behind. Yet there are some modern ways you can make yourself more available:
- Invest in landlord software such as Buildium and TenantCloud.
- Have internet or Wi-Fi services installed at your properties.
- Develop a blog with useful advice for tenants, such as lowering heating costs.
- Offer tenants your phone number and email address for reaching out.
- Consider each tenant individually and make changes based on needs.
- Set aside some time to go through tenant emails and queries each day.
Modern apps are probably the best way to go since most, but not all, tenants will have a smartphone. However, a phone number and email are essential since tenants on a low income can still contact you via local community services through these somewhat traditional methods.
Keep on Top of Repairs and Maintenance
As mentioned, the tasks of managing properties can pile up. But there are some that also need addressing for the safety of tenants and for your personal freedom. Issues such as mold, for example, are becoming criminalized in the UK because of associated health issues and death. It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure a property is safe and fit for purpose. This means attending to minor fixes and major works that any property and tenant needs under the law.
Stay Flexible to be a Better Landlord
Tenants should feel welcome and like the property is their home. The easiest way to give them this is by letting them make some changes. However, these should be minor and detailed in the tenancy agreement. Often this typically includes painting and decorating. Otherwise, you may have to make some insurance claims for structural damage. Around 42% of insurance claims from BTL properties are for flooring damage. Ensure changes to this are restricted for tenants.
Screen Tenants but Also be Fair
Any experienced landlord will tell you that screening tenants is necessary. And it is. You don't want someone unlikely to pay for your property. But how do you screen tenants fairly? Consider that a new tenant may have recently been released from prison. This doesn't mean they would be a bad tenant. And it is not a guarantee that a highly paid professional will be a good one. Decide based on each case individually and ask for references if you feel something is off.
Being more empathetic about each tenant's situation and the wider community can help you to be a better landlord. It also helps to ensure you are available to tenants through various mediums such as software or email. And always fairly screen tenants before making a decision.