Securing your tenants through a difficult market
One thing that has become very clear in recent months is that both the market and Government are moving firmly towards greater power to tenants in the rental market. So our first piece of advice to all our owners now is that working hard to retain existing tenants is more important now than it has ever been. This doesn’t mean not ensuring that they keep the property in good condition or being less vigilant about rent arrears or regular inspections.
But it does mean working to eliminate “pain points” for the tenant that provide no benefit to the landlord. Some examples are:
- Maintenance: Prompt response to maintenance issues. It is almost always the case that if some maintenance is required, the sooner it is done, the lower the cost for the owner. But prompt response also removes one of the main pain points for tenants and leads to significantly longer average tenant tenure;
- Regular inspections: More convenient regular inspections. We are now trialing restarting regular inspections (which have had to stop with COVID19 restrictions) as remote inspections. This method gets the tenant to replicate all the photos on file. Not only does this ensure you get proper regular routine inspections when they were otherwise impossible, but we have found it gives the tenant greater flexibility of when the routine can be conducted and increases their sense of ownership of the process whilst still ensuring the rigorous process of the inspection is adhered to. If any issues arise from the remote inspection, we will then visit the property as soon as we are legally able. So far another win-win for owners and tenants;
- Rent reviews and lease renewals: with the rental market in some turmoil and certain suburbs and price points badly affected (see the article on Red Zones in this newsletter), we are recommending to our landlords to consider renewing their tenant’s lease where this suits their property plans. Where significant vacancy or reduced market rents on re-leasing are likely, renewing a tenants’ lease is even more important. Rents cannot be increased until after September 20th under new Covid laws and in some cases a slight reduction in rent, ensuring the tenants renew could be the financially most beneficial outcome. Talk to your property manager to discuss your individual situation with your tenants
These are all ways we can work together through tough times to maximise your rental income by keeping tenants in place for longer and raising their satisfaction without ever compromising landlord rights or interests.