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How to encourage long term tenants

As a landlord, you will always be on the lookout for the best tenant. One who doesn't make a fuss or always pays their rent on time. Which is fair enough. And pretty obvious really.

But many landlords will say the best tenant is simply the one who stays the longest. It's hard to argue with.

Most landlords should be looking to encourage long-term tenants.

Why you will benefit from long-term tenants

Long-term tenants are great for cash flow. They guarantee income every month.

But when tenants change there are often breaks in the flow of rent. You need to find a new tenant. This could leave the property empty for several weeks. And an empty property doesn't generate income.

We've already touched on another benefit of long-term tenants. An unbroken tenancy means you don't have the inconvenience of finding, interviewing, and installing new tenants. Nor do you have the expense of marketing the property.

Long-term tenants are more inclined to look after your property. They are settled and not looking to move. They are far more motivated to take care of the property than a short-term tenant, who will be moving on after six months.

All things considered, it is worthwhile for landlords to encourage long-term tenants.

How to encourage tenants to stay longer

It's all about service. That doesn't mean rushing around at 2 am to fix a leaking tap. It simply means going the extra mile in one or two areas and allowing a little leeway in others.

Build a relationship

You don't have to pop round every Friday with a crate of beer and a takeaway. But a friendly relationship is always a first step in encouraging long-term tenants.

Being polite and friendly doesn't take any effort but can go a long way to keeping a good tenant. As can ensuring the tenant and property are well looked after.

Promptly take care of any minor repairs. For major repairs keep the tenant fully informed of timescales.

Good communication can overcome most issues. And prevent others flaring up.

Prepare to compromise a little

A little give and take can help make any relationship run smoothly. In the case of landlord and tenant, a little compromise can go a long way.

Understandably many landlords are wary of allowing tenants to decorate. They activate discourage it by inserting no decoration clauses in their tenancy agreements.

But long-term tenants want to make their home their own. Which is where the compromise should come in.

Allowing tenants a little leeway and allowing them to do some decoration will encourage tenants to stay long-term.

If you are really worried about DIY disasters you could include some restrictions in the tenancy agreement. You could also mitigate the risk by installing picture hooks and hanging curtain rails.

White goods

Make sure any white goods are modern, clean and reliable. Replace any that are past their sell-by date. Always ensure any white goods have the best energy ratings. Your tenant will appreciate the savings they will make on their energy bills.

A handy tip to get the best out of any white goods you buy for your property is to always opt for an extended warranty. It's a sensible way to protect your investment in electrical goods.

Don't forget the garden

Most landlords know the value of a low maintenance garden. The less a tenant has to do to keep the garden tidy the better.

But to encourage long-term tenants try providing planters and containers for them to plant. Keep a cheap but serviceable lawnmower in the shed. Keep some basic tools in there as well.

Make it as easy as possible for your tenant to keep the garden tidy while allowing them some freedom to make it their own.

A word about pets

This always divides landlords. But consider allowing your tenant to keep a cat or dog.

I realise this isn't for every landlord but pet owners often make the best tenants. And are usually looking to rent long-term.

Are there any drawbacks with long-term tenants?

There can be. A long-term tenant can cause issues just like any other.

None payment of rent, unreasonable behaviour etc. One of the biggest issues can be damage to the property. It can often go undiscovered because the landlord trusts the tenant.

But regular inspections and keeping on top of maintenance can prevent any issues.

How MakeUrMove can help you retain your long-term tenants

We can make it easy to look after your tenant and your property. Our full management package takes care of rent collection, maintenance and compliance issues. We can also organise quarterly inspections to ensure your long-term tenants are taking care of your property.

Learn more about our property management service.

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