Thursday, 6 February 2020

Why you should let tenants turn your house into their home

At a viewing last week, I was asked by prospective tenants whether they’d be able to put pictures up on walls should they move in. I’m amazed some landlords charge thousands in rent but won’t allow their tenants to put a few pictures up, especially when you consider it from a business perspective.

Having such stringent rules about how a tenant can live won’t make them want to stay for long. This will naturally create a higher churn of tenants, leading to more void periods (and less rent in the landlord’s pocket). Furthermore, the coming and going of tenants will lead to greater wear and tear; which presumably is what the landlord was trying to avoid in the first place!

In my view it’s quite simple; yes, the tenant should respect the property they are renting, but for the time they are there they should see it as their home and treat it accordingly.

If tenants want to put pictures up, they would simply be instructed to return the wall in the same condition as when they started the tenancy. That would mean filling any holes and touching them up. If the touch up doesn’t match the rest of the wall, they should paint the wall. Alternatively, I’d probably give them the advice to buy special hanging strips, which can be used to hang pictures on walls securely without making any holes!

To further protect the landlord, an inventory is created before the tenancy begins, which includes a thorough description and photos of the property’s condition (including the walls). The tenants get the opportunity to check through it, so all parties understand how things need to be returned at the end of the tenancy (less fair wear and tear).

Inspections will soon show if tenants are abusing the tolerances afforded to them, whilst a visit before their move-out with a few pointers as to what is needed to be done to get the property back to the required standard is a good idea. This will help tenants know what is needed to get their security deposit back and it should reduce any required maintenance come the end of the tenancy (again reducing the dreaded void periods).

As ever, choosing the right tenants is important in allowing them the flexibility to live in the property as if it were their own. Whilst the best tenants will ask before making any changes and implement them in a reasonable manner, bear in mind that the worst tenants will just go ahead and do it anyway. Having a more collaborative approach should see happy and content tenants wanting to stay longer in the landlord’s house, having turned it into their home.

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