To be honest – most probably could. You watch the rent roll in every month, you call out the odd plumber and electrician, and shake hands at the end of the tenancy whilst giving back their deposit – another happy tenant!
Only, I’ve been responsible for over 2,000 properties in the last 5 years and I wish I could say that this was the case. Maybe a few years ago, when this was a landlords' market; tenants felt grateful to have a property which they enjoyed living in. That’s just not the reality anymore.
We expect everything instantly now, we can order anything from our mobile phones with next day (if not same day) delivery, we tweet complaints before even leaving a restaurant, and we can educate ourselves instantly with a quick google search.
Lettings and management are no exception – it is no longer enough to provide a tenant with a safe, secure property which has heating and hot water and if they’re lucky is neutrally decorated. As renting becomes just as much of a choice as it is a necessity for some tenants, particularly in London, Landlords are finding themselves now part of a service based industry. Now that’s not what you signed up for is it?
Realistically, when you have a full time job, how quickly can you answer a tenant’s email, text or phone call? How much time do you have to research a plumber or an electrician, arrange access to the property, discuss the quotes – and fulfil this all within the tenant's expected time frame – which by the way, was that the work should have been completed yesterday.
As with all service industries, it is about people - you need to forge that relationship and give a great customer service. Tenants prefer properties which are managed for this very reason, they know they have access to a member of staff – whose job it is to provide a great service, and to be available for anything they need. We find here that the average length of tenancy for a managed property is a lot longer than that of a let only property – and that’s worth considering as a landlord.
We all know the legislation involved in lettings, that it is advisable to have a qualified agent deal with this, we all know that 24/7 maintenance is going to free up your time and ensure you aren’t bothered with boiler breakdowns at 2am on Christmas Eve. But actually if you have been lucky with good tenants and a well maintained property – then these may not be of benefit to you. You’ll come calling for management, sadly usually off of the back of a messy and usually expensive experience.
So instead, think of it like this – tenants are walking a High Street choosing a rental property. If they don’t like it, they’ll leave after a year, six months. Leaving you with a potential void period. So what is going to attract them to you and your property and make them stay over all the other options?
The fact they will be better looked after than any of their friends, who are also most likely tenants. Tenants will pay a higher rent on renewal if they feel like for that rent, they are also receiving a great service.
So the key as I see it to happy landlord - happy tenant - happy agent?
We are the customer service and property management experts – so let us be the factor that attracts a long term tenant to your property and leave us to it.
Leave the tenant to enjoy their home, and build a relationship with us.
And we’ll leave you to…well whatever it is you want to do, because you’ll suddenly have a lot more time on your hands to enjoy.
By Reagan Bradley