Stay on top of the rules
The buy-to-let market has seen a notable shift to better ensure tenants and guests are provided with added protection. One example being The Tenant Fees Act, which was put in place to restrict the type of fees landlords and letting agents could charge tenants. Costs such as check-out fees are no longer enforceable by law and failure to comply with the legislation will see landlords pay hefty fines ranging from £5K to £30K.
With other acts being phased in across 2020, such as the ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ (MEES), it will become even more important for landlords to ensure that all clauses in older agreements are up to date and are accurately executed in shorthold tenancies. Keeping on top of new and existing legislation is tricky business, therefore tech solutions should start to become part and parcel of the process to ensure that landlords can effectively monitor and adapt to regulatory changes.
Landlords are expected to take responsibility for safety standards seriously or face the price. After all, the risk of endangering any tenant or making them ill isn’t in anyone’s interest so landlords should be far more incentivised to ensure their property meets the required standards. Gas and electrical safety, alongside fire and carbon monoxide alarms, need to be regularly monitored and kept records of.
Since April 2018, landlords must do an annual gas safety check with a registered engineer to monitor the condition of the gas delivery system. Added to this, landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the gas safety check within 28 days of the engineer’s visit.
Fire safety is another key factor to stay on top of. For landlords using an HMO as a buy-to-let investment, you are required to supply fire extinguishers and alarms for the property. Making sure you supply tenants with the adequate safety certifications will keep you in good stead.
Make it a quick fix
We’ve all been guilty of letting a small issue sit on the bottom of a to do list, but then learn the hard way that there is no gain in putting off repairs. Landlords with the best reputation not only sense an issue early on, but get to the root of it before any major problems come to the surface.
Landlords who show extra consideration for their properties and subsequently their tenants will be the ones who come out on top. Putting a band-aid on a problem that needs repair is only going to make the issue larger and not worth it in the long run.
Keeping on top of problems shows your tenants you’re willing to deliver top quality service. If time is an issue in doing this, a management service can ensure that landlords have a reliable shortlist of tradesmen on hand should a problem arise.
Go the extra mile
To make your property a memorable experience, landlords can make tenants feel special by going the extra mile to understand their needs. Little details can make all the difference and let tenants know that you’re not only a trustworthy landlord but also approachable.
For short-term lets in particular, a simple gesture that you can use repeatedly is creating a well-informed printout guide to help tenants get adjusted to the area. In the welcome pack you could include directions to local supermarkets, maps, parking information and other useful facilities to help them plan their trip. This added effort will make sure tenants know you’ve really tried to improve their experience.
Tenants far and wide frequently share that the most common frustrations they have with landlords is a lack of good communication. Your property portfolio is a business and subsequently your tenants are your customers, which means communication is a fundamental part of the transaction.
Honesty and open communication is extremely valuable when establishing rapport with your tenants. In the event that maintenance needs to occur in the unit or if there’s an issue with the council, landlords should look to supply tenants with the right information. In doing so, tenants are reminded of the efforts behind closed doors to sort situations outside of their knowledge.
To help ensure that a solid relationship is built between landlord and tenant, proper communication throughout is advised. Often, for professional landlords this isn’t always a doable option and this can be easily resolved through the support of a property management service, which can ensure that tenants have all the information prior to arrival and most importantly during their stay.
The certainty of having a good tenant is priceless and after all, without the tenant, landlords are the ones who will feel the hit the most. Creating a strong connection with your tenants and promoting yourself as a landlord who can be counted on will take your property portfolio further.
Nakul Sharma is the CEO at Hostmaker.
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