Landlord Guide: How to Find and Keep Good Tenants.

Landlord Guide: How to Find and Keep Good Tenants.

Finding good tenants for your rental property can mean a trouble-free, reliable tenancy.

Having the wrong tenants in your property, however, could mean financial losses, a damaged property, and a lot of stress.

So, how do you find good tenants and, most importantly, how do you keep them?

This guide tells you everything you need to know…
 

What makes a good tenant?

Tenant referencing and affordability checks will be able to tell you if you’re potential tenants are likely to pay their rent in full and on time.

But there’s a lot more you should be looking for when deciding if a tenant is right for your property…
 

1. Good communication skills

Communication is key in any relationship – especially between a landlord and their tenants.

You can assess a tenant’s communication skills in a whole host of ways and long before they sign your tenancy agreement:

  • Do they turn up on time for viewings or other appointments?
  • If they’re unable to attend, do they contact you in good time and look to reschedule?

If they communicate well during the enquiry phase, there’s a strong chance this will continue when they become your tenants.

And this means they’re likely to:

  • Report problems quickly
  • Let you know if they are having a problem with their rent payments
  • Ask permission if they want to do something to your property outside of the tenancy agreement
  • Respond quickly when you contact them
     

2. Quick and easy to deal with

An empty property means no rent – and this can be costly.

Limiting the amount of void time between tenancies is key and this means getting new tenants signed up as quickly as possible.

When agreeing to let your property to new tenants, how quickly do they provide documentation and are they quick to respond to requests?

Delays caused by prospective tenants not providing information in good time should be considered a red flag.
 

3. Asking the right questions

Someone who asks lots of questions on a viewing is a positive sign that they’ll be a good tenant.

Are they asking where things are, such as water shut-off valves, or how the heating system works?

And are they asking questions about their responsibilities should they rent the property?

Someone who asks very few questions may not have the same enthusiasm for renting your property.
 

4. Interested and complimentary about your property and the area

Good tenants will also show an interest in the area and be complimentary about your property.

Good comments about the property’s presentation and finish means they are far more likely to treat it as their own and take good care of it during their tenancy.

And by asking about the local area, amenities, and services, they could be hinting that they’re keen to stay long term.
 

5. Solid references and credit history

Referencing and credit checks are by far the most important part of the process when screening potential new tenants.

Seeking references from previous landlords will give you a great idea of how your prospective tenants will treat your rental property.

And performing thorough credit and financial checks will give you the peace of mind that those potential tenants will pay their rent each month and not get into arrears.
 

How do you attract good quality tenants?

As well as knowing what to look for in a good tenant, there are many things you can do to ensure only the best ones are attracted to your property…
 

1. Get your marketing right

Having a bigger pool of tenants to choose from will increase your chances of finding some good ones.

That means getting your marketing right and making sure you know the kind of tenants you want to attract.

For example, if you’re looking for young professional couples, you should target social media as well as the online property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.

The best way to ensure you reach as many potential tenants as possible is renting your property through a letting agent.
 

2. Keep your property looking great

Rental demand is high and making sure your property stands out is key to attracting the best potential tenants.

A well decorated and secure property is a must, while you should also think about how your tenants will use the space you’re providing.

For example, with the increase in remote working, you may be better off providing a home office space than an additional bedroom. 
 

3. Be thorough with referencing

Background checks and referencing is an essential part of the process when assessing tenant suitability.

Rent paid in full and on time would top any landlord’s list of requirements from their tenants and making sure you’re thorough when running references and affordability checks is key.

Your local letting agent is your best port of call for this and their experience of referencing tenants can provide amazing peace of mind.
 

4. Meet your tenants before agreeing

It’s much easier to form a sound opinion of your prospective tenants if you’re able to meet them first.

By meeting them, you’ll be able to get a good idea of their communication skills as well as how they present themselves.

All of this can help you form the right judgement on whether they’re right for your property.
 

5. Ask good questions

As well as expecting your potential tenants to ask good questions about your property, you should also boost your knowledge of them by asking questions of your own.

Ask them:

  • Why they’ve moving
  • About their previous property
  • How they’ve found renting in the past or, if it’s their first time, how they feel about that and
  • What their plans are for the future. Are they intending to buy or put down roots in the area?
  • About their jobs and how long they’ve been in them
  • What they like to do in their spare time
     

How to keep good tenants

Once you’ve got good tenants living in your rental property, the next task is to ensure you keep them.

Good, long-term tenants can mean a steady, reliable income and that your property is well looked-after for the foreseeable future.

There are some key steps to take that will help you to keep your tenants happy and living in your property for a long time…
 

1. Deal with issues quickly

Maintenance issues do crop up from time to time in rental properties.

But from your tenants’ point of view, it’s how quickly you deal with them that can affect how long they want to stay in your property.

Be proactive when it comes to maintaining your property and deal with problems quickly and efficiently.

By communicating well and fixing issues in good time, you’ll be making life easy for your tenants – meaning they’re far more likely to keep renting from you into the future.

And not only that, but regular maintenance can also help ensure you spend less time and money bringing the property up to standard when you do eventually have to find new tenants.

Renting your property through a letting agent can be a great way to stay on top of maintenance and emergencies, with easy contact processes and trusted trades available to complete work.
 

2. Keep communication open and be human

Good communication is key to the landlord and tenant relationship.

Make sure your tenants know who to contact in an emergency and keep them updated with the progress of any maintenance issues.

Also, think about your tenants’ needs when completing maintenance work.

Try not to disturb them by booking tradespeople at weekends, instead booking them in for when your tenants are at work.
 

3. Provide what modern tenants need

The needs of tenants have changed hugely over the past decade.

And providing what they look for can help keep them in your property for longer.

For modern tenants, renting is more of a lifestyle choice than a necessity, so you should consider providing:

  • A dedicated home working space
  • High speed internet
  • Secure bike storage
  • Subscription TV packages

Essentially, making your property feel less like a rental and more like a home for your tenants will help keep them there for longer.
 

4. Tell your tenants you want them to stay

If you’re happy with your tenants, don’t wait until the end of their fixed term agreement to see if they decide to renew – tell them you’d like them to stay.

Get in touch with them a month or two before the end of their tenancy term and tell them they’ve been great tenants.

By opening dialogue on a possible tenancy renewal early, you may be able to tie your tenants into a longer fixed term.

Or, if they do decide they wish to leave at the end of the initial term, you’ll have more time to find more good tenants to replace them.
 

5. Be fair and clear on rules

Consistency is key and the best route to that is to be clear on rules with your tenants from day one.

Make sure your tenancy agreement makes clear everything that’s expected of your tenants and point them to the agreement if they’re unsure.

Be flexible and approachable, but making your expectations clear from the outset can help establish a good relationship with your tenants.
 

Further reading…