Avoiding Relationship Breakdowns
It’s all too common for the relationship between a landlord and tenant to break down ususally creating trouble, expense and anxiety for all. Fortunately, the most common bumps in the road can be avoided with a little foresight. Here are my top recommendations:
- Get off on the right foot: Before the tenancy even begins arrange a face to face meeting with your tenants. Being friendly and communicative is a great way to set the tone for the relationship and it’s good to ensure that your first conversation is not about a problem. A thoughtful, disposable housewarming gift such as a bunch of flowers, box of chocolates or a bottle of wine will be very welcome too and can pay dividends.
- Stay in touch: Check in with your tenants periodically to check all is well and make sure they know how and when they can call you and what constitutes an emergency. Clearly you don’t want to be called in the middle of the night because the towel rail has fallen down but you do if there’s a flood or similar issue.
- Flexibility costs nothing: The most common issue is late rent payments and problems can escalate quickly. Avoid this flashpoint by checking your tenant’s payday and remember that standing orders can take 3 days to clear. Agreeing a later rent day shows flexibility and will save a lot of trouble. Ask for 5 or 6 weeks rent as the first payment and then revert to a full month thereafter.
- Be comprehensive and fair: The right tenancy contract is critical and the more detailed it is the better for everyone.
- Any questions? Provide a welcome pack for your tenant with all the important details they need, it’s definitely in your interests too! Include your contact details, emergency numbers, location of the stopcock, gas and electricity meters, manuals and instruction books, rubbish and recycling dates, parking regulations and information on local facilities like the sports centre, library and restaurants. Don’t forget the gas and electricity safety certificates too.
- Face to face: Finally, if there is a problem that’s hard to resolve, make the effort to go and meet your tenant at the proprty. 99 out of 100 problems are better dealt with in person than over the phone or email.
Did you spot the theme? Yes, it's all about good communication, treating people with respect and anticipating problems. But if it sounds hard work to you – don’t worry, you can always get a managing agent to step in for you!
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