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In Praise of Tenants

Posted by Barry Burton on October 8, 2018
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In the news, we always hear about problem tenants and rogue landlords. I am not dismissing that these exist; however, I would argue that the vast majority of landlords and tenants abide by the conditions of the contract set up in the lease agreement, albeit SAT or PRT.

The news and media in general feeds off sending out negativity and we, as media consumers lap it up like strange, self-sabotaging individuals, intent on discovering how the world is conspiring against us. I contend that in reality, most tenants are happy (I know the ones we manage are) and that most landlords are happy with their tenants. The landlords that we manage properties for are responsive to any problems in their properties as they realise that they need to keep their properties ship-shape in order to attract both the best tenants and the best rents.

The article is entitled “In praise of tenants” for a reason; tenants are often maligned in landlord circles and I think this is wrong and unfair. As an agent, our client, legally, is the landlord. However, the person who pays our bills and pays the landlords’ mortgages, is the tenants. When the tenants withhold rent, fall into arrears or vanish, the agency doesn’t get paid, nor do our landlords. Therefore, looking after our tenants, without kow-towing to their every whim, is the name of the game at Evergreen Property.

It is important that you make your tenants feel like it is their home; give them ownership (not legally, of course) and treat them as a client. You are providing a service and they pay you (sometimes via an agency) accordingly for that service.

We see tenants as custodians of our landlords’ investments. Contrary to news reports, in our experience, tenants do not trash or damage their homes; in fact, they often enhance them through love, care and spending their own money upgrading facilities. Good tenants, willing to settle for a few years and invest in ‘their home’ are worth their weight in gold.

In landlord circles, we often hear about ‘sweating your property’ for as much money as you can. I believe that being a landlord can either be an investment or a business. My landlords, rightly, see it as an investment; they are in it for the long run. They clamour for a settled tenant and no voids.

As an agent, we am keen to avoid voids too. They make Evergreen Property no money and create much more work – viewings, references, upgrades etc.

 

ld. Landlords will often want large rent increases (sometimes 10% or more) to get their property in-line with what they have heard they should be getting. Rent increases are a negotiation. No tenant wants one. And all landlords do want one. Regularly. This is where having fostered strong relationships with the tenants over the months and years, becomes essential. By looking after (y)our tenant, they become more amenable to rent increases and you get the double positive impact of being able to increase your rent whilst avoiding the dreaded void as they feel unfairly treated.

 

Here we come to the tricky issue of rent increases. I feel this could constitute an entire article, however, I will lay out my views quickly on this:

Rent reviews (and ultimately, increases) ar

e necessary; however, they need to be proportionate. As I have stated, a settled tenant is worth its weight in go

At this point I wish to draw an analogy of the use of the agent in this negotiation.

Why do footballers and film stars have agents?

In my mind, they have agents because they would not feel comfortable asking for £X million for simply kicking a ball about, or pretending to be someone else. The agent, in these cases, removes that social awkwardness of asking something that they may not feel they deserve. Likewise, a good agent, will always keep an eye on market rent, and at regular intervals, suggest that a rent review is due and initiate a discussion and negotiation with the tenant, whilst ensuring both sides come away happy. The landlord does not need to get involved. They do not have to ask for more money; they don’t have to justify it to the tenants that they may or not have a relationship with, why they are asking for more rent. They leave it to the professional, the agent, to negotiate on their behalf.

 

So, take away top tip.

 

Treat your tenants as clients who deserve a safe, comfortable place they can feel secure in and the law of reciprocity will 99 times out of a 100, lead to a happy, long tenancy.

 

 

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