It’s no secret that a full house is the best-case scenario for any HMO, and, as landlords, we all know that happy tenants equal happy landlords!
If our tenants insist on leaving after short term lets, it’s us that have to bear the brunt of voiding costs which, essentially, takes a hefty bite from our profits.
So, we’ve gathered 10 top tips for HMO Landlords to keep your tenants happy and your pockets fuller!
Here’s an index of what this blog will contain so you can skip to any section that might interest you the most.
1. Make your tenants comfortable.
Think about it. Is the sofa cushty? Is the mattress in good condition? Does the heating/air conditioning work as it should?
A lot of landlords focus on making their HMO look snazzy and modern, but in doing so they totally rule out comfort.
Equip your shared spaces for a comfortable environment and watch your tenant churn reduce drastically.
After all, what’s the point in a fantastic looking communal space if no one uses it?
2. Don't be "just another landlord."
Drop the term ‘landlord’ and adopt the title of a business owner. Now, your customers and their satisfaction are key.
Landlords can sometimes get a name for their ‘unhelpful’ nature, and you want to be different. Don’t be easily miffed or defensive when a tenant calls you about repairs or maintenance as this is one of your primary duties.
Remember, happy tenants don’t leave without a good reason, so don’t neglect basic chores like maintenance and upkeep, and you’ll reap the rewards long term!
3. Be on a first name basis.
Being a familiar face to your tenants can go a long way! Make the effort to get to know your tenants and you’ll both feel more at ease.
You don’t want visits to be surrounded by negativity and a feeling of inconvenience on your part, as this only serves to drive a wedge between you both.
4. Make property visits a habit.
This follows our previous point; property visits need to be frequent (at least every 8-9 weeks). This is not only crucial from a maintenance perspective, but it also lets your customers know that you do in fact, care about them.
It’s good to show your face and say ‘hi’ but be careful not to overstep boundaries as you might come across as a little intrusive!
5. Communication is key.
Nobody welcomes a 2AM phone call, and although this is probably never likely to happen, you should still be open to the possibility.
Equipment and utilities often break down so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t exert energy trying to put issues on your tenant’s toes… focus on sorting the problem!
The main cause of breakdown between most supplier-customer relationships is bad communication.
There’s nothing that puts a bad taste in your mouth more than a landlord who doesn’t want to own up to their responsibilities!
6. Functionality over everything.
The path to happy tenants might seem increasingly difficult but, in reality, it’s not too difficult.
Make sure that your planning stages within your refurbishment/conversions aren’t left to the contractors or builders.
Plan your living spaces with the element of functionality first and foremost. For example, what developments would make your tenant’s residency as comfortable as possible?
7. Be hands on with maintenance.
If you want to keep hold of those great tenants, maintenance needs to be top of your list.
Don’t get into the habit of letting standards slip or else you won’t be delivering towards your tenant’s expectations.
If you let a property crumble into disrepair, there’s no doubt you’ll lose good quality occupants, and churn rates will rocket up.
8. Put your tenants needs first.
Try not to overcomplicate it. A pleasant tenancy doesn’t rely on £1,500 coffee machines or massage chairs.
Sometimes comfort can be addressed by supplying a bathtub, a cushty mattress, sturdy bed frame and other small cost luxuries.
Think about it as if you were staying in a hotel- what would make your stay more comfortable?
9. Choose lettings agents carefully.
“How many letting agents out of 10 will be good agents?”- if you were asked this question, how would you respond? Maybe 1, 2 or at a stretch 3, right?
Now put it into perspective of your business’ cash flow; if it was put on the back of those 7 bad agents, would you feel positive about it? Definitely not!
Take your time to hand pick the 1 or 2 good agents.
Make sure you don’t get the 7 or 8 that are going to tarnish your properties reputation or give your tenants an unpleasant experience.
10. Hand pick your tenants.
The relationship between your tenants is something to hold close to your chest too.
Shoving a bunch of completely unsuited people into the same property is a quick way to churn tenants rapidly.
Not everyone is going to get along by nature, and you don’t have to take on every tenant for a quick win as this will more than likely lead to soured relationships within the property.