10 top tips for attracting tenants

The buy-to-let sector is highly competitive and, not surprisingly, the landlords who are most successful are the ones who appreciate the importance of making their properties attractive to tenants.

“Presentation, presentation, presentation,” says Roger Wilkinson of Wilkinson Grant & Co. “If you want to attract tenants at the best price, it is imperative that your property is clean, well maintained and nicely presented.”

So, what are the biggest annoyances for tenants and how can they be avoided?

1. Clutter.Even when a property is being let furnished, tenants will arrive with many of their own possessions, so they are not likely to warm to a property which is overflowing with unwanted clutter. Landlords should systematically declutter their properties before showing them to tenants.

2. Dreary-looking walls.If walls have not been painted for years, a property will make a bad impression on tenants as soon as they walk through the door. All it needs to rectify the problem is a fresh coat of paint. But landlords do need to repaint their properties regularly or they may lag behind the competition.

3. Unfinished DIY tasks.There is nothing more depressing than viewing a property which looks like ‘work in progress’, with fixtures that have been half-repaired or rooms that have been half-redecorated. If you have begun a DIY task to upgrade your property, make sure you finish it.

4. Foul smells.“These can be a major turnoff, whether they emanate from cigarette smoke, pets or food,” explains Sonia Duffin of Duffin’s Estate Agents. “Landlords who want their properties to pass the smell test should invest in air-fresheners and remember to clean the bedding, carpets and curtains regularly.”

5. Scruffy gardens.In presentation terms, the garden can be as important as the property itself. Tenants will be instantly put off if they see a tangle of weeds outside the kitchen window. So, make sure you put the effort into mowing the lawn, weeding flower-beds and generally making the garden easy on the eye.

6. Dirty bathrooms.Few things put off tenants faster than bathrooms that look dirty or unhygienic. Spare no expense and take no short cuts, until it is fit for a king or queen.

7. Dingy kitchens.Tenants are likely to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Perhaps it is cramped, badly laid out or poorly lit. Give thought to what sort of kitchen space you would want to cook in and try to create a space that is warm and welcoming. A lick of paint on kitchen cupboards or modern kitchen handles will often lift a dated kitchen.

8. Malfunctioning domestic appliances.From leaky washing-machines and aging kettles, to thermostats that do not do what they are supposed to, domestic appliances which are unreliable, or even dangerous, are every tenant’s nightmare. Landlords should check all appliances before showing tenants around a property. And if something goes wrong when the tenant moves in, act fast to repair it.

9. Badly maintained common parts.However well presented a rental apartment may be, tenants will stay away if the common parts of the building look tired, messy or neglected. Savvy landlords understand this and liaise with the managing agents for the building to ensure that the common parts come up to scratch.

10. Antisocial neighbours.Prospective tenants will naturally be curious about their new neighbours and may take fright if, for example, they hear heavy metal being played loudly in the next-door flat. To some extent, this is outside the landlord’s control. But landlords can certainly help their cause by maintaining good relations with residents of neighbouring properties.

Tenants are realistic. They do not expect rental properties to look like suites in five-star hotels but they do expect properties to be clean and generally in good working order. And if your property does not pass those tests, they are likely to look elsewhere.


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