Love your tenants
We speak a lot about investing in property and how to find a good deal but we don't really speak about the bit after we have secured the deal. Over the years we have created our own way of looking after our tenants; and the results speak for themselves. I will be talking about self managing property, pets, and the little things that really do make the difference.
I love self managing our properties and I think I'm pretty good at it (if I do say so myself). There's obviously a lot of work that goes into finding good tenants but I will talk about that another time. Our relationships with are tenants are great and it all comes down to communication and respect for each other. They respect that we own the property and we respect it's their home. If our tenants would like to change anything or add some thing they always ask which is great and how it should be. We always come to an agreement that suits both parties. We never just say 'no' as we want them to enjoy living in the property and stay there for many years. The great thing about this is sometimes what they do adds value, for example we had tenants that asked to put a new fence and gate in the back garden; they paid for it and it looks great. So the tenants are happy as they could do what they wanted and we are happy as it looks great and hasn't cost us a penny. The other point to this is as they paid for it they are more likely to look after it.
We make living in our properties easy and stress free, obviously we have to keep up to date with certificates and need access to the property. We like to give a weeks notice and then send a reminder the day before, again the tenants like this and know exactly what's happening and who's coming into their home.
Inspections... We are very organised with our inspections and do 1 every 6 months for our single lets and 1 every 2 months for our HMO's. Again we give them plenty of notice and the opportunity to let us know if there's anything we should be aware of before entering the property. This has never been a problem as we tell them we do this when they sign their contract with us. Inspections are so important and it surprises me how many people don't do them. We have a check list for each house so we never forget to do anything, we check all alarms and make sure the house is being well looked after. We always send a copy to the tenant the next day and thank them for allow us access to their home and for looking after the property so well. There has been a few occasions in the HMO's where they have become very untidy and dirty. In these cases I state what needs to be sorted and let them know I will be going back in 2 weeks for another inspection to make sure they complete it. This might sound harsh but if we didn't step in the problem may have gotten worse and cost us a lot of money. When I have had to do this the tenants have stepped up and sorted the problem out.
I see a lot of things online about tenants having pets and it being a real problem... I have to disagree with them. We have tenants with cats and dogs and have never had a problem. To be honest it's a great selling point for our business and we didn't realise when we first allowed pets. In our experience children damage property more than pets, yet landlords don't hesitate when it comes to renting to families. We always have it written in the contract how many pets they have and what pets they are. This is so it doesn't get out of hand and before we know it we have a house full of dogs. Again it all comes down to good communication and regular inspections to make sure the house is being looked after. The best part of this is going around to meet the new tenants.
My last point is that the small things really do matter. We keep all our tenants up to date with what's happening and they very kindly do the same for us. If there is a problem with something (which will happen) they tell us straight away so it doesn't escalate. For example at one of our property's we unfortunately had a big leak in the living room; the tenants rang me as soon as they got home and saw what was happening, this was about 8:30pm. I contacted a roofer that night to come and fix the roof the next day but in the mean time I offered to go to the property and help them clean the water up and put some buckets around to contain the water. They declined and said they had got it under control but they were so grateful for the offer and quick response. They even redecorated the room once it had dried out. This is truly amazing and how a tenant and landlord should work together.
We always want to try and make our tenants feel as welcome as possible and we do this with a small gift when they get their keys and at Christmas. This really doesn't cost a lot but the tenants really love it. We always get told that no other landlord has ever given them a gift.
All these little things mean we have a great relationship with our tenants and they stay for long periods of time meaning it costs us less money (woohoo). Being a landlord has responsablilties but sometimes we forget to just be kind.
Until next time...