Make sure you keep the rent current

Most landlords agree that although it is vital to be super-careful when selecting a tenant, it is just as important to do what is necessary to keep a good tenant who pays on time and takes good care of your property.
“And the best way to do that, of course, is to keep the rent at the correct level as market conditions and rental property demand patterns change,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he notes that frequent changes of tenant are time-consuming and costly in advertising, cleaning and painting expenses, and perhaps vacancy time, but for tenants to stay, they have to be satisfied that they are getting a “fair deal”.
“Obviously, the income or budget of the tenant will be the primary driver of the decision about where and what to rent. Most tenants have limited funds and at different times of life they will also have different needs to meet with those funds.
Some might want a swimming pool in their apartment complex, for example, while others want a home near a good school and yet others a townhouse on a golf estate.”
However, Everitt says, changing economic conditions can have an even bigger effect on tenants’ decisions to stay or go, so landlords need to track their local rental market regularly, compare rentals with what others are asking for similar properties, and be aware of anything and everything else that might affect their tenants’ ability – or willingness – to pay the current rent and any future increases.
“In the past two years, for example, hikes in transport costs and utility charges have made it more difficult for tenants to make ends meet, and more difficult for many landlords to raise their rents without running the risk of losing their tenants.
“On the other hand, these changes have also made those properties that are close to public transport routes and those that are equipped for ‘green’ living more desirable, which could mean that tenants are willing to pay higher rentals for them.”
Other factors which can affect demand – and may thus require rental adjustments - are local job creation and new people moving into a town or area, and the amount of new housing development in the area.
And finally, he says, landlords should not neglect property maintenance. “Peeling paint, a leaky roof and an unreliable stove are hardly like to make tenants feel like they could stay for ever.”

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