Many landlords feel anxious about letting out their property. Perhaps you feel worried because it used to be your family home, or maybe you had a bad experience with tenants in the past. Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to ensure your tenants take care of your property, so you can all enjoy it for years to come.
Start off on the right foot
It’s important to get a tenancy off to a good start, and this begins before any contracts are signed. You can vet prospective tenants by asking for references from previous landlords – if they come back positive, this should give you peace of mind that your property will be in safe hands. When it comes to handing the property over, make sure you and the tenants make an inventory together and both sign it – this will protect you if any problems arise later on. If there is anything in the property that needs particular care (e.g. special flooring), make sure you provide clear instructions for this. Having a formal handover at the beginning of the tenancy gives the impression that you really care about the property, which should encourage your tenants to take care of it too.
Present the property well
You should present your property at the start of the tenancy in the state you would like it to be kept in. If you hand over the keys when the carpets are stained and the windows grubby, you’re giving the impression that this is an acceptable state for the property to be in. But if you make sure that everything is clean, tidy and in good repair before your tenants move in, they will know that it should be looked after to this standard.
Fix problems immediately
Things will always go wrong during a tenancy – the most important thing is how you respond to them. Rather than letting problems linger, arrange for them to be fixed as soon as they are reported to you. Not only will this show your tenant that you care about the property (and that they should too), it will also encourage them to report problems more quickly, because they know any issues will be fixed right away.
Carry out regular inspections
Typically landlords carry out inspections biannually or quarterly, and these are a useful way to check how the property is looking and find out if there are any problems that your tenants might not have reported. If there is anything you’re not happy with, let your tenants know, and take photographs of any new damage. Remember that you must give 24 hours’ written notice before an inspection, which should give your tenant time to ensure the property is clean and tidy before you arrive.
Build good relationships
The best way to get your tenants to take care of your property is to build a good relationship with them – if they feel you treat them fairly and with respect, they will do the same for you (and your property). A good landlord–tenant relationship should be like a good business relationship: friendly, honest and professional. It’s also a good idea to make friends with the neighbours and give them your contact details, so they can get in touch if they notice any problems with the property.
If you would rather hand over the care of your property to somebody else, Gough Quarters can help. Contact us today to find out more.