Renters, just like homeowners, have a checklist of necessities they are looking for in a home. Having a property with a variation of amenities to offer renters makes your investment more desirable and sets it apart from other rental properties.
With the exception of some young-gun property investors who start their portfolios while still living with mum and dad, most of us have been tenants at some stage in our lives. But as landlords it can be easy to forget what life is like on the other side of the rental agreement. By putting in a little effort you can find and keep the right tenants, making your life as a landlord happy and prosperous.
What tenants don’t like
The best way to keep a tenant in your property and paying rent is to make sure there is nothing to complain about. According to the Department of Fair Trading, most tenants are unhappy about the same things, with the most common complaint being a need for repairs.
In NSW, the Department of Fair Trading received 862 complaints from tenants last year. Some of these were:
- Repairs and maintenance – 121 complaints
- Bond refunds – 115 complaints
- Non-lodgment of rental bonds – 104 complaints
- Dissatisfactory service by property managers – 49 complaints
- Unspecified unsatisfactory conduct – 38 complaints
How to avoid losing your tenant
Losing a tenant can end up costing you thousands, so when you find a good occupant it is important to hold on to them. Successful real estate author and landlord Margaret Lomas believes there are a number of simple ways to keep your current tenant content in your property. “What usually sends a tenant looking elsewhere is when there are repairs or desperate renovations which are left unattended, and they feel they might as well pay the same elsewhere for a property in better order,” she says.
Lomas’s top tips for keeping a tenant long term:
- Ensure your property is well maintained
- Have a good property manager who handles the relationship so you can avoid any confrontations
- Increase rent when the market moves, but only if your property is competitive
- Attend to repairs and maintenance as quickly as possible
- From time to time, carry out a repair or renovation just before it’s needed to improve the tenant’s lifestyle
Likewise, Sydney landlord Karleitia Bodlovic, landlord of eight properties, says she uses small gestures to keep her tenants contented and paying the rent. “Gestures do not have to be grand to create harmony, and sometimes small things can make a big difference,” she says. Karleitia’s top tips for holding on to a good tenant:
- If furnishings are provided, then keep them updated every two years
- Have carpets and interiors professionally cleaned
Fix any problems or repairs right away
- Be flexible when tenants are experiencing financial problems
How to attract the right tenant for your property
If you are a new landlord, or the worst has happened and your tenant has moved out, there are a number of ways to attract the right occupant. By considering who your property best suits, you can create the perfect setting to attract the right tenant, in the shortest time, and save yourself the cost of having an empty property. To figure out who your property best suits, start by asking yourself these questions:
- What kind of tenant would want to live in my property?
- Is it best suited to a family?
- Is it in a family-oriented area?
- Is it in the CBD?
- Is my property best suited to an executive or professional couple?
- Is it best suited to students?
- Is it near a university?
- Would it be better suited to single-room accommodation?
What your ideal tenant wants
Once you have identified the best target audience for your property, you can increase your chance of finding the right tenant by completing small upgrades to make it irresistible.
- Your property is best suited to a family
- Add an air conditioner or ceiling fans
- Invest a small amount of money in updating the garden and yard
- Include a washer and dryer
- Make sure the bathroom has an exhaust fan, towel racks and hooks
- Ensure the yard is fenced and safe
- Allow pets
- Have the property professionally cleaned before open house day
- Get the carpets professionally cleaned