The residential rental market is changing rapidly, and so too are the needs of the tenants landlords are trying to serve. So, what exactly do tenants look for in a rental property? This article breaks down seven of the biggest things renters like to see when looking for somewhere new to live.
Clean and well-maintained
You’d hope that this would be an unnecessary section to include, but the truth is that many landlords still try to fill properties that are not in the best shape. While they may have been able to get away with this a few years back, today’s tenant is a lot more discerning, so landlords who neglect such basics will likely struggle to get decent renters and the full monthly amount their property could generate.
Ensuring that the property is well-kept and that everything works as it should isn’t hard to do, either, so failing to do so doesn’t make much sense. Keep fixtures and fittings up to date and have the place redecorated if it’s starting to look a little dated. Hiring a professional cleaning firm to do a deep clean on your property before bringing it to market will also make a huge difference once potential tenants start to view your rental.
Safety and security
Another massive factor is how safe and secure you’re prospective tenants feel when viewing a property. This can often be more of a gut-feeling than anything else, but there are obvious things you can take care of to sway their subconscious mind.
Obviously, a lot of the safety and security issues will need to be addressed anyway if you want to stay on the right side of the law (see our post How To Prepare A Property For Rental for more info), but there are other things you can take care of too, such as locks and lighting.
While there are plenty of things you can do inside your property, the area in which it’s situated is harder to control, which brings us nicely to...
Location, location, location
Ahh, the biggest property cliché makes an appearance at long last! The thing is, it still matters. Where your property is situated can make a huge difference to both the amount of rent you can expect to collect each month and the type of tenant you’ll attract when marketing the property.
In some instances, such as if you’ve inherited the property or if you’ve had it for years, there may not be much you can do about this section, but for those looking for buy-to-let opportunities it’s a big consideration. The key thing to remember is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what makes a location great, as different tenants will have different needs.
Your job as a landlord is to identify what that location holds for its residents and buy accordingly. For example, a town with a big university will obviously have plenty of students looking for digs, so identifying property with potential to accommodate them will work in your favour.
Many renters are long-term tenants these days, so things like storage are becoming more and more important as people move from property to property with ever greater amounts of ‘stuff’. The good news is that you can supply a solution for this problem even if you’re current layout leaves a little to be desired in terms of storage space.
With just a little thought (and possibly some cash) you can transform your property and show off the storage you can offer as one of your ‘selling’ points to prospective tenants. Think about the following:
- Utilising attic space
- Adding cupboards to alcoves
- Full-wall bookshelves with adjustable shelving
- Buying a secure shed if you have a garden
- Better storage solutions in the kitchen
No master bedroom
Again, this is another thing that’s difficult to change in existing properties, but there’s no denying the appeal that equal sized bedrooms have in today’s rental market. Home’s with just one master bedroom and one or two smaller bedrooms have limited appeal (with only families showing interest), whereas those with equal sized bedrooms cast a far wider net.
Not only that, properties regarded as HMOs will need to conform to the new minimum room size legislation which comes into force next month (October 1st, 2018). There has also been talk of the government extending this law to all rental properties, which could leave many landlords unable to market their homes in the same way as they do now.
A pet-friendly place
As many tenants are now looking for longer tenancies, the subject of keeping pets has come more to the fore. Naturally, the decision over whether or not you allow your tenants to keep pets will be a personal one, and there are pros and cons to doing so, but it’s important to bear in mind that this can be a deal breaker for many.
A decent landlord
Finally, one of the most important things tenants look for in rental properties is who’s in charge. Years of landlord horror stories have ensured that those who rent out properties for a living are, rightly or wrongly, treated with suspicion. Obviously, it isn’t fair to tar every single landlord with the same brush, but it is what it is.
Unfortunately, there have indeed been plenty of terrible landlords over the years, so the recent push to clean things up is welcomed by us and every other reputable letting agent across the country. The introduction of London’s Rogue Landlord Checker is great news and it will undoubtedly help clean up the market as unscrupulous landlords are named and shamed.
While it may now be easy for tenants to check what landlords are doing wrong, it can be difficult for them to find out what they’re doing right. What makes you different from the rest? It’s hard to tell, but there is one way you can stand out: enlist a local, reputable, highly accredited letting agent like Pettys to look after your rental for you.
Tenants are more clued up now than ever before, and they know that working with a well-regarded letting agent means they are fully covered and will be well looked after. Sure, there’s a cost involved, but if you’re serious about succeeding in buy-to-let, deciding to have us on your side could be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a landlord.