Investing in a buy-to-let property can be a rewarding endeavour if successful. It can help build your net-worth and bring you a steady monthly income in the form of rent paid by your tenants.
However, properly managing this type of investment takes a lot of work and landlords have to deal with a lengthy list of to-do tasks including maintaining it, making it attractive for potential tenants and then finding suitable and trustworthy renters.
By attempting to form a professional, but positive relationship between the landlord and tenant, both parties can really benefit. It can help the landlord by obtaining a solid return on their property investment and likewise help the tenant to achieve a higher quality of life.
At Stirling Ackroyd, we genuinely believe that we can help form this relationship too.
As Central and East London’s leading letting agency, we can make landlords’ lives easier by dealing with every step of the lettings process, right from finding you the perfect tenant, through the referencing and compliance, to either re-negotiating a renewal or re-letting the property at the end of the term.
Similarly, we’re constantly there for tenants too. Whenever there’s an emergency or a maintenance issue, we provide a service called Fixflo where you can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in any one of 40 languages – just to get a repair resolved!
In an attempt to keep improving all those landlord and tenant relationships out there, here are some tips so that the smiles stay on your faces.
Focus on the little things
You could say this piece of advice goes towards improving all types of relationships, but we’re only here to talk about property letting.
We’re not suggesting buying them heart-shaped chocolates, but as a landlord you may wish to consider a welcome pack when the tenant moves in. This could include things which the incoming tenant will find practical after a tiring day moving heavy items around, like cleaning items or toiletries, bottles of water, a map of the local area or a list of useful phone numbers. At Stirling Ackroyd, all new tenants are issued with a welcome pack which will include various useful information about their tenancy. The welcome pack is also always accompanied by a welcome phone call to them and you, the landlord.
A handwritten note also goes a long way and a few sentences telling the tenant how glad you are to have them living in your property is a nice touch. Also, use the note to provide your contact information so they know exactly how to reach you when necessary, unless of course, you have opted for our Fully Managed or Fully Managed Plus Service as this means that we handle all tenant communications on your behalf.
Conduct thorough screening processes
In order to find the right tenant for your investment, don’t simply accept them based on their charisma. Bear in mind that your rental property is likely to be one of the most expensive assets you’ll ever own. You will no doubt want someone respectful and reverent to occupy it.
Check whether the tenant has a good credit score and verify your prospective tenant’s references and income. Will they be able to pay the rent if they suddenly lose their job? What do past landlords say about them?
You should perhaps think twice about accepting a tenant if the below red flags crop up:
- Long gaps in unemployment
- Low credit score
- Bad or missing rental references
- Unwillingness to give information
By properly screening your potential tenants, you’re sifting out the weaker applicants leaving you with renters who are less likely to cause you headaches at a later stage.
The great news for landlords is that by letting Stirling Ackroyd manage your property, we take care of the screening process from start to finish.
Our procedures are second to none when it comes to finding the right tenant for your property due to our state-of-the-art advertising methods and large database of applicants all over Central and East London.
Make problematic tenants a thing of the past by opting to let Stirling Ackroyd manage your rental property from A to Z!
Make an effort to understand the tenant
A successful landlord is one who makes a concerted effort to understand his or her tenants.
Nowadays, the lettings market is increasingly competitive and as a landlord, it’s well worth getting to know your tenant well in order to understand what he or she is looking for when renting a home.
If you’re able to provide the tenant with their rental needs or just by being attentive to requests about repairs and maintenance, you’re lessening the chances of conflict arising and increasing the likelihood of getting paid your rent money on time.
Always keep your word
Trust is the most important foundation on which to build the best landlord and tenant relationships. If you tell your tenant you are going to phone them at a certain time to discuss a certain issue, make sure you adhere to that. Avoid getting a reputation as unreliable by trying to make same-day responses, especially when it comes to security and maintenance.
One of the most common issues of tension between tenants and landlords is when the landlord promises to fix something in a certain time frame, and it is then not done. Staying on top of maintenance issues and repairs is part of being a landlord and is your responsibility to manage.
We do understand that landlords are busy people and that landlord to tenant communication is time consuming. That’s why our help is fundamental to establishing the best possible relationship between both parties.
Landlords choosing our Fully Managed or Fully Managed Plus property management services are leaving all the potential issues that come with a property portfolio at the front gate. We’ll take care of everything, from communication to compliance to client accounts.
Allow the tenant the freedom to use their personal space
It’s absolutely crucial to establish the terms and conditions of the tenancy right from the start, making absolutely certain that both parties fully understand them and are happy with them.
You should lay out what the tenant is permitted to do in the residence and how much scope there is for them to personalise their rental home without causing lasting damage or irreversible change.
They may wish to redecorate a number of rooms, paint the kitchen, bring in any number of appliances and change the furniture to make it fit in with their style.
Within reason, by allowing them to do this, you’re making them more comfortable in a home that suits their personality and they’ll be more likely to renew the tenancy at the end of the lease.
With the creative freedom you’ve given them, there may even be the chance of a small rent increase which ultimately means more money in your pocket.
By respecting their freedom, this also means their privacy.
This is vital to the success of your business. Although you legally have the right to access the property to conduct important tasks such as property repairs, maintenance, inspections and viewings, it’s fundamental to first issue the tenant adequate notice – in most cases 24 hours.
The entry times must also be reasonable. For example, conduct your inspections and property viewings between the hours of 9:00am and 6:00pm to avoid unnecessarily exasperating your tenant.
Never compromise on compliance
As you will know, the UK is heavily regulated when it comes to the property lettings market.
To complicate things further, laws seem to constantly change and amendments are brought in all the time. It’s hard to keep up and ignorance is not an excuse.
If your property doesn’t comply with the rules, you’ll be fined or imprisoned depending on the severity of the offence.
Make sure your licence is in order and that the right-to-rent checks on your tenant have been completed. You’ll also need to protect your tenant’s deposit in a licenced government scheme, have carried out an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment and an annual gas safety inspection, as well as made certain that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order, clarified that the furnishings meet the required safety standards and updated your insurance.
Sound like a lot to take on? Why not contact Stirling Ackroyd to fully manage your property? We offer a number of services which provide the landlord with complete peace of mind by managing all these compliance obligations ourselves. We have a team of fully qualified compliance experts who are dedicated to keeping your house compliant with the law so that you simply don’t have to.
Many tenants generally feel worried about contacting their landlords about repairs and tend not to notify anyone about the problem until it’s really bad.
Usually, they don’t want to bother the landlord and think that the issue could even resolve itself over time.
Try to be an approachable landlord and be supportive of your tenants. What may seem an easy issue to resolve for you may be incomprehensible to the tenant.
Treat your rental property as you would your own
The tenant will appreciate it if you’re visibly taking an interest in their safety and well-being. Make sure the appliances, water pumps, boiler and electrics are always in good condition.
Although it’s the tenant’s responsibility to leave the property in the way they first received it when they moved in, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to manage the upkeep of the home, repairing anything faulty or dilapidated.
Once again, by allowing our experienced and fully-qualified property management staff at Stirling Ackroyd to manage your rental property, we can stay on top of the upkeep and maintenance in the house, as well as conducting regular property inspections to gauge the condition of the furnishings within. Much like a check-up between check-in and check-out!
Overall, communication, communication, communication
A two-way communication is essential in order to avoid any misunderstandings. By fully comprehending the tenant’s requirements, you can be proactive about fulfilling their expectations.
It is also a good idea to keep your tenants updated on things that are going on in the local area that might affect them.
Try to put yourself in their shoes. How would you like to be treated if you were the tenant? Once you have an answer, act upon it.
Choosing Stirling Ackroyd to manage your property
Being a landlord isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t for everyone. It requires a number of distinct skills of which you may not have the necessary experience.
Juggling different jobs, working outside your normal working hours and always being available, whatever the time, can be exhausting.
However,if all this information seems somewhat overwhelming, there’s good news.
By choosing Stirling Ackroyd as your letting agency, you’re placing yourself in the best hands out there to manage your home from the A to Z of property letting.
With more than 30 years’ experience in managing rental homes across Central and East London, we’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge of how to deal effectively with everything we’ve mentioned above.
Are you worried about finding the right tenant for your property? Our in-depth tenant screening processes can deal with that. Need all the reference checks completed and the deposit protected? Leave it to us. Worried about compliance issues? Let our fully qualified compliance experts manage everything. The tenant urgently needs a leak repairing? Don’t get up, we’re already on it.
Stirling Ackroyd is the leading choice for landlords regarding property letting management the best advice we can give is that you contact one of our branches in Central and East London today for more information.