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How to attract great tenants and keep them

How to attract great tenants and keep them

Securing good tenants doesn’t have to be down to luck. A recent study has revealed the top reason why renters will move property – so, what can you do as a landlord to make them stay?

As a buy to let landlord, the reassurance of having trustworthy and reliable tenants is often the key to success in the sector. Certainly, at the moment, when property stock on the market is low, tenants are staying in their homes for a longer period of time, so landlords could stand to benefit by providing them with a comfortable home that meets their needs. However, with a wide range of tenant demands to meet, a recent study into why tenants move provides insight into what landlords can do to make them stay.

Why do tenants move from their properties?

The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) surveyed 1,000 tenants that had moved property between October 2021 and March 2022 to understand renter motivations. Surprisingly, and maybe not to many landlord’s rejoice, the most common reason for moving was to accommodate a pet. With 30% of tenants moving to keep a furry companion, it could be said that many property investors are missing out on a large percentage of potential demand just from this one criterion. Whilst many landlords oppose the idea of their tenants’ keeping pets, it cannot be denied that this desire is increasing – last year’s survey found only 7% moved to accommodate pets, making this a rise of 23%.

On the other end of the scale, the survey found that the least common reason for moving amongst tenants was for outdoor space. Down from 18% last year, this year’s survey revealed only 11% of movers were seeking this property feature.

Why has this changed?

The impact of the pandemic on the housing and rental market meant that we saw a fundamental shift in demand for larger properties in rural areas with outside space. However, with the return to cities and working in the office, these demands have clearly altered once again. Understandably, that renters may once again be looking for a property close to transport links rather than outside space, which explains the drop-off since last year’s results.

What has continued, however, is the popularity of keeping pets. An estimated 3.2 million UK households rescued or adopted a pet throughout the lockdowns, and those who rent now need homes that will accommodate them. What the DPS did find, is that “tenants who secure homes that allow pets typically stay for longer, resulting in more certainty for both tenant and landlord”.

Legislation changes

What’s clear is that many landlords will not want their tenants to keep pets, which is often a dividing topic in the sector. However, the Government’s Ministry of Housing has updated the standard tenancy agreement, meaning that landlords can no longer use a ‘blanket ban’ on pets in their tenancy. This will mean tenants have the right to contact their landlord requesting permission for a pet, who will then have 28 days to provide a good reason to object. There are certain exemptions alongside the new Model Tenancy Agreement, but the Ministry aims to support renters where only 7% of private landlords advertise pet-friendly properties.

What can landlords do?

Matt Trevett, managing director at DPS, advised the need for tenants to respect and fully understand the obligations that come with owning a pet. The idea of a “pet-friendly” tenancy agreement, with pet insurance paid on the tenant’s behalf, is one way for landlords to protect their property from any potential damage. Trevett also mentions the need for tenants to get the right insurance in place, as it will remain their legal responsibility for any damage caused.

If you’re looking for advice for your next property investment or want to secure a competitive deal ahead of further rate hikes, then our brokers would love to hear from you. Call us on 0345 345 6788 to discuss any property finance queries you may have.