Thursday 10 September 2015

Long-term tenants are a landlord’s best friend

Talk of mandatory longer-term tenancies has largely quietened down since the election.

Perhaps common sense has prevailed, as the reality was that neither landlords nor most tenants actually wanted them.

Landlords don’t like the idea of potentially having non-paying tenants in their property without the option of automatically regaining possession.

Meanwhile, tenants often prefer the flexibility of shorter term tenancies, particularly as jobs (and many relationships!) have become less permanent.

There’s also the fact that you’re never quite sure if a property is right for you until you move in. Imagine moving to a new home only to find the neighbour from hell next door and you’ve just signed a two or three year contract!

The fact is, most professional landlords are not looking to evict their tenants at the end of their contract nor to excessively increase the rent. They aim to look after their tenants and the property to promote a longer-term tenancy.

The current system seems to be working. The average tenancy in the UK now lasts 2.7 years, up from 2.5 years 12 months ago. A recent study concluded that only 9% of tenancies were ended by the landlord.

As both a landlord and a letting agent, my dream tenant would be one who wants to stay forever (assuming they pay their rent and look after the property). Imagine: rent month after month with no void periods and no need to re-advertise the property, conduct viewings and prepare everything required to move new tenants in.

I make a point of trying to ensure prospective tenants would be happy in a property and that it will be suitable for their needs. If not, they will simply move out after six months and I’ll have to spend the time and money all over again to find a new set of tenants, whilst the landlord faces unnecessary wear and tear on their property and an additional void period.

This is also why I largely prefer to let two and three bed houses. I find those moving into a flat soon outgrow it or want some private outside space, resulting in them moving quicker.

Similarly, more transient students or sharers naturally move more often. A family, however, can grow into a house and soon become attached to the local area, particularly if children have enrolled in a nearby school.

Like I always say to my landlords; it’s not about getting the first tenant for the property but the right tenant. I could very easily find a tenant tomorrow for any property, but it probably wouldn’t be the one that provides the best long-term result. 

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on 10th September 2015)

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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