Some landlords limit their tenant-pool by not advertising to certain groups. This is a leading reason why online property adverts sometimes fail to create enquiries and viewings. Put simply, the fewer people you advertise to, the fewer enquiries you will get.
Only around 20% of all households in England are private sector renters (although this is growing). That’s roughly 4.5m households. This means your market for tenants is not huge – especially outside of major cities.
Often, there’s a good reason to exclude some groups. Sometimes a property just isn’t suitable for certain kinds of tenants. But where possible, increasing the amount of tenants you’ll allow to rent your property will yield great results.
All you need to do is make your property more suitable for tenants with different needs. This is often much easier than landlords think. Here’s now!
Many landlords worry that pets – especially dogs, cats and other, larger animals – will damage their property and are ‘not worth the risk’. Fouling on neighbouring property, making noise nuisances and damaging furniture are all frequent, genuine complaints.
Sometimes, these complaints are strong enough to make tenants with pets unsuitable for the property. But when you consider that an estimated 48% of UK households have pets, you see how limiting this could be for your property advert!
Here is a list of concrete measures you can take to lessen your risk when accepting a pet owner as a tenant.
1. Extra Security Deposit
A simple way to decrease risk is to take on a larger security deposit. Not only will this help cover any damages that do occur, it will also further incentivise the tenant to prevent them occurring in the first place.
What’s more, tenants with pets are usually quite understanding and happy to make this commitment. Just make sure you bring it up at the earliest possible point.
2. Meet The Pet
The best way to judge whether you will be happy having the pet in your property is to meet it. This is especially true with dogs. Meeting them can help put your mind at ease regarding their behaviour and training.
3. Get a Reference
Ask the tenant for a pet-reference from their previous landlord. If the pet gets a good reference from a past landlord, it is a good sign that the pet is no trouble and will not be a risk to take into your property.
For more advice on how to make your property more suitable for pet-owners, look at Lets with Pets. It is a Dogs Trust initiative to help pet-owners and landlords.
More than 500,000 people entered UK higher education in 2015. Given that a bachelor’s degree lasts three years, it’s obvious that the student population in the UK is huge. Furthermore, students are one of the most likely groups to enter the rental sector, as they temporarily make a new town their home.
If your property is around a university campus or known student area, not accepting students could seriously lower your property’s number of enquiries. Not only will you be missing out many students who would like to take the property, non-students might be put off by the fact that the property is in a student area.
Here we’ll look at the main reasons landlords are reluctant to take on students, and how to overcome them.
Many landlords worry students will simply be bad tenants. Late night parties, damage to property and a lack of maintenance nous are all frequent complains. How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?
1. Explain their duties in detail
Many students will be renting for the very first time. It is important to spend extra time explaining their duties as tenants so that they can look after your property in a tenantlike manner. Set out any rules (e.g. no parties after 11pm) – as early in the process as possible.
2. Properly vet your tenants
Meeting your student tenants early on – for example at the viewing – will help you decide whether you would like to take the tenants on. Just like other tenants most are perfectly responsible and a few will be less-so. Meeting them can help you decide if you want to proceed.
3. Get a comprehensive reference
Comprehensive referencing should include a reference from a previous landlord. A comprehensive reference will contain well-judged advice on how to proceed with the tenant.
All you need is your applicant’s name, email and phone number, plus a few basic details about your property. It’s that easy!
Extra Paperwork & Guarantors
Without a monthly income, student tenants often need their rent backed up by guarantors. The hassle of getting a whole extra set of guarantor paperwork done can just be too much to bear – especially when all guarantors live in different cities! Far easier to not accept students at all… right?
This might have been true a few years ago, but with the advent of the digital signature, it is fast, secure and easy to sign contracts online. It is now perfectly normal – even preferred – for all parties to sign up to their AST contract via digital signature.
Want help creating your tenancy once you’ve found your tenants? You can use OpenRent’s Rent Now service. We will:
- take a holding deposit
- reference your tenants
- set up the contract & get it signed by all parties (including guarantors)
- Collect the first month’s rent and register the security deposit in a registered scheme
Many landlords, especially those with Homes of Multiple Occupancy, just want one tenant per room. In smaller properties, this may be entirely appropriate.
However, not accepting couples or room-sharers, especially in properties with more expensive rents and more floor area, could end up being a problem.
Couples are more likely to apply for (rooms in) one- or two-bed properties, since these are the properties which are most expensive per-room. In other words, these are the properties where tenants would be most financially incentivised to share a room.
If your property is a one- or two-bed, then not allowing couples could be seriously limiting your number of enquiries. Here is how to make renting to couples work for you as a landlord:
1. Including Bills? Charge More
Two people will use more energy and water, so it’s fair to charge more if you already advertise your rent with bills included. Most couples are prepared for this.
2. Take a higher deposit
If you are worried that more tenants means more risk of damage, then you can raise the security deposit to counteract this should a couple apply.
3. Charge More Rent
Couples are often prepared to pay a little more each month to secure a shared room. This can mean a higher rental price for you as well as more tenant enquiries as you open your property up to couples.
DSS is a misleading, catchall term for people accepting housing benefit. DSS tenants are often refused by landlords outright. Sometimes this is simply because the landlord knows that the rental price is likely to be too high for claimants to be able to afford the property.
Rejecting DSS tenants outright, however, could be a poor move. Just a year ago, five million people in the UK were receiving housing benefits. Opening your property up to this group can help you receive more enquiries and get your property let more quickly.
If you are unsure whether a tenant will be able to keep up their rental payments, you can ask them to provide a guarantor. The guarantor will be liable for the payments should your tenant fail to make them.
Setting up a guarantor doesn’t have to mean piles of challenging paperwork. With our Rent Now service, guarantor referencing is free and we collect all the signatures for you, making it easier than ever to accept DSS tenants.
- Accept more types of tenant to get more enquiries:
- DSS tenants
- Take necessary precautions to minimise risk