We all have our own idea of the ideal tenant. But, it's fair to assume all landlords have a broadly similar person in mind.
They pay their rent on time without fail, they take pride in the property keeping it clean and tidy almost to the point of obsession, and they don't ring you at three in the morning screaming down the phone because a knob has fallen off the cooker. Instead they are courteous and polite and willing to work with you to resolve issues rather than immediately threatening lawsuits and launching a smear campaign on social media.
In short, they are the kind of tenant you don't want to risk losing and want to keep for as long as you can. So, how do you ensure your dream tenant stays with you rather than leaving to brighten some other landlords existence?
You have already weeded out the potential trouble causers and undesirables at the interview stage. Remember first impressions count and always trust your instincts in accepting or rejecting prospective tenants. Once you have done your due diligence and are ready to hand over the keys to someone you just know should be a good tenant, how do you ensure they remain on their lofty perch?
Get them on the hook early
When welcoming a new tenant to your property go beyond a handshake when she signs the contract. A nice touch is to stock the kitchen cupboard with cleaning products. It's a thoughtful gesture, will only cost a few quid at the Pound Shop, and also enforces a subliminal 'keep the place clean' message. More importantly it begins to build loyalty.
If your new tenants are a couple, or even if she is single, a small bunch of flowers and a bottle of Prosecco left as a surprise moving in gift will create a great impression and imbue a sense of gratitude laying the ideal foundation for your relationship. I can guarantee your new tenant will tell her friends about the flowers and they will respond with tales of how distant and unfriendly their own landlords can be. Already she knows what a great landlord you are and how lucky she is to be in your property. You can be sure she will do her best to look after it. It's something called.....
The law of reciprocation
It's not high on the complexity scale. It certainly isn't Newton's law of universal gravitation. But the law of reciprocation is nevertheless a powerful thing. Its basic tenet is; treat them right and they will treat you right.
Keep your tenant happy and they are highly likely to become the paragon of virtue we eulogised in the opening paragraphs of this article. So.....
Never ignore your tenants calls. Answer the phone when possible or respond quickly to voicemail. Communication is key. Don't be defensive. If there is an issue don't take a complaint as an attack. Work with your tenant to resolve any issues. Even you can't quite see what all the fuss is about. If a repair needs to be done don't put it off. Promptly fixing a fault will not only help your tenant it also makes complete sense from your own perspective. You will maintain the condition and value of the property and you're not storing up problems for later. Count to ten. Try and see things from your tenants viewpoint. A dripping tap is a small thing but it is annoying. Fix it. It doesn't take two minutes and your tenant will be grateful. Reward good tenants with a small bonus every now and then. Deliver a new microwave for the kitchen or replace a tired looking carpet. Gestures like this build loyalty and will ensure a valued tenant has no cause to look elsewhere for a property.
The secret is.....
When all is said and done a good tenant is one who pays the rent on time and takes good care of the property. They are more likely to do so if they feel a bond towards you and know they have been treated fairly. So, keep on top of repairs, be friendly, and always try and resolve issues promptly. I guess the secret to keeping a good tenant is to simply be a good landlord?