Buy-to-let landlords should invest the time in getting to know their tenants, according to new research.
A survey conducted by Upad shows that one of the biggest regrets of experienced landlords when they first started off, was not meeting and vetting prospective tenants themselves (12% of respondents). A further regret was failing to appreciate the value of tenant referencing checks (10%).
James Davis, founder of the online lettings agency and who himself is a portfolio landlord, said: “I’ve always promoted the value in getting to meet a prospective tenant face to face and the fact that almost a quarter of the landlords we questioned regret not investing the time in properly doing so, highlights what an important part of letting a property this is.
“There are many aspects of a prospective tenant’s character that can be confirmed via legal and financial checks, but traits such as punctuality, appearance and willingness to be honest and open, can only really be ascertained via a good old-fashioned face to face conversation. Indeed, our own data has previously demonstrated that over 90% of tenants actually like to get to meet their landlord too so it’s a win:win situation which simply requires a small investment of your time.”
Indeed, such is the importance with which Upad’s landlords hold meeting prospective tenants, that when asked what one piece of advice they’d give to those starting off in the buy-to-let market, more than a one third cited this as the most essential piece of advice.
Upad’s research also found that financial issues continue to be of significant concern to landlords.
Some 11% of respondents felt that when they started out in buy-to-let, they had misjudged the rental value of their property, whilst 27% felt that the best piece of advice they could give to a new landlord would be to do their sums and ensure they’re prepared for unforeseen financial circumstances.
Looking forward to the coming year, a third of respondents stated that continued taxation changes would prove to be their greatest cause for concern.
Davis continued: “There’s no denying that the days of having enough spare cash to invest in an investment property and then sitting back to watch the rent roll in are, for most landlords at least, well and truly over. Issues relating to taxation, profitability and overall affordability, not to mention planning for unforeseen circumstances, play on all but the most nonchalant landlord’s minds.
“However, the fact that forging a genuine connection with tenants continues to stand above financial concerns for experienced landlords serves to demonstrate the extent to which investment in the buy to let market remains a long-term strategy, rather than simply a quick win. That’s also something that will be well worth remembering as we enter a year which is likely to bring much more of the unexpected.”