As the rental market continues to grow in the UK, landlords are now facing increasing amounts of competition as they try to rent out their properties in a saturated market. And as more and more people start letting out properties to take advantage of the financial opportunities that the renting generation brings, landlords are now realising the importance of marketing their rental properties in the right way to attract the most desirable tenants.
Whilst priorities might change dependant on whether you’re renting to long or short term tenants, these are some of the top factors that all tenants consider when searching for rental properties.
1. It’s got to be clean and well looked after
Not to state the obvious, but tenants will be looking for a clean home that’s in a good state of repair (especially bathrooms and kitchens). Because they likely won’t be able to make any improvements to the property they’ll be living in, it’s important for it to be habitable from the outset, and a tired kitchen could greatly depreciate the amount you can feasibly charge for rent.
Long term tenants may also consider the age of the property – an older building is more likely to have problems with damp and water ingress than a newer build, and due to the fact that people are now renting for longer, this will increasingly be a consideration. If you have an older property, take the time to root out any potential issues and get it fixed before the start of the tenancy. Alternatively, give your tenants peace of mind by taking out Home Emergency insurance, which covers the cost of repairs in an emergency – for example, if the heating breaks down in the height of winter.
2. Location is always important
Location is an important factor for most people, whether they be renting or buying. However, different tenant types will have different priorities when it comes to location. Consider your target demographic and what will be most important to them, highlighting the key benefits that your property location has to offer. For example, if your rental property sits in the centre of a student city, you’ll want to focus on attracting student tenants by pointing out the nightlife and proximity to the university campus. If you’re renting to families, highlight the local schools, stores and transport links. It’s also worth considering the safety of the area you’ll be renting in when deciding upon a target demographic for your rental property.
3. They want to feel safe and secure
Not only is it important to tenants to live in a property that is safe and secure, but it’s also a legal requirement to make sure that the security of your property is up to date. There is increasing amounts of legislation being placed upon the lettings industry to ensure the safety of tenants in an increasing rental market. The current regulations in place include the following:
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. Landlords are now required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. Failure to adhere to this legislation could result in a fine of up to £5,000.
Electrical safety checks
Landlords must also make sure that any electrical installation in a rented property is safe when the tenants move in, and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. This includes making sure that any electrical equipment in the property has at least a CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s confirmation that it meets all the requirements of European law).
Energy Efficiency Standards
Landlords should also be aware that from 01 April 2018 they will need to make sure they adhere to the new Energy Efficiency Standards, which will now require landlords to have a minimum Energy Efficiency standard of E on an Energy Performance Certificate for every property they let out.
Aside from the legislative requirements, it’s also a good idea to make sure that the locks and security systems are up to date and in a good state of repair, as this may sway a particularly security-conscious tenant into deciding to rent the property.
4. Money’s going to be a factor
Value for money and affordability is always going to be a consideration for tenants. Compare your property and rental amounts to other properties in your area to check that you’re competitive, and that the amount you’re asking for is realistic. It may be worth considering switching utility suppliers if it’ll keep costs down for your tenants, as Knight Frank’s research shows that 44% of renters in the UK consider affordability to be the most important factor in choosing a rental property.
5. They might want to keep pets
As people start to rent for longer, with the average age for first time buyers sitting at 30 years old in the UK, they’re more likely to want some home comforts in their rental property, which could include keeping pets. A lot of landlords are hesitant to allow pets in their rental properties for fear of carpets, soft furnishings and furniture being damaged. However, it may be worth considering as it’s likely to make your property more attractive to prospective tenants. The risk of potential damage can easily be mitigated by adding a pet surcharge, and most landlord insurance policies will also include pet damage as standard, making the financial risk involved with allowing pets very minimal.
6. Tenants want to know they’re in good hands
Aside from all of the other factors that tenants will take into account when choosing a new home, they’ll also consider the landlord when making their decision as to where to live. Tenants are looking for a friendly and hands-on landlord, who they can feel confident will respond to repair requests promptly. Landlords should consider being more flexible when it comes to their rental properties - this could be something as simple as allowing pets, to letting tenants paint the walls of their rental property so that they can make it more homely. By being courteous, flexible and transparent, you’re far more likely to hold onto your tenants for longer.
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