Tepilo looks at research outlining the most common tenant requests, discussing why a good relationship between landlords and renters is crucial.
The majority of tenancies will go off without a hitch, with the relationship between tenants and landlords a good, mutually beneficial one, but it’s an unavoidable truth that sometimes issues and complications will occur.
What’s more, as a landlord, you could be faced with some slightly – erm – unusual requests from renters at times.
A study recently carried out Lightbulbs Direct revealed the top five reasons why tenants pick up the phone to landlords. Topping the list was the need to fix a damaged window (66%), while just under half call their landlord to ask for permission to decorate (49%).
For 46% of those surveyed, broken appliances would herald a call to their landlord, while 44% of tenants would call upon their landlord to deal with a blocked plug or toilet! Meanwhile, a dirty property would be a reason for tenants to pick up the phone to their landlord for 33% of those surveyed.
As well as calling upon their landlord for help with blocked plugs and toilets, other unusual requests from tenants included asking for help when hanging photos and wall art (16%), tightening the screws on a doorframe (8%) and seeking assistance for moving furniture around the property (7%).
As a landlord, there are limits on what requests you have to respond to. Clearly, a faulty boiler, a broken fridge or a major leak would be far more pressing issues than rearranging furniture or unblocking plugs. You wouldn’t be expected to drop everything at a moment’s notice to tighten screws on a doorframe, but it would be a reasonable expectation for major issues to be addressed promptly and efficiently. It’s in both your interests for this to be the case, as a home that is not functioning properly will not be attractive to existing – or would-be – renters.
With matters such as broken appliances and damaged windows, things should be taken on a case by case basis and dealt with according to its seriousness. A broken kettle or toaster, for example, may not require immediate attention, whereas a malfunctioning oven, washing machine or fridge-freezer would. Work closely with your tenants to address the issue and keep any disruption to a minimum. If you employ a property manager to look after rental homes on your behalf, ensure that communication between them, you and your tenants is clear, consistent and regular.
A good relationship between you and your tenants is absolutely crucial; to ensure a mutually beneficial tenancy and to make sure you avoid any dreaded void periods (where your home is unoccupied and still costing you money). For most landlords, stable, long-term tenants are the dream scenario for the sense of stability and security this brings.
The research above further highlights the need for good landlord-tenant relations. Some 89% of those surveyed said they would consider moving out of their rental home if they didn’t have a good relationship with their landlord. You might not think such things are hugely important, but tenants will want to know they are valued, respected and provided with well-maintained, good-quality rental accommodation.
While it’s promising to see that only 18% of tenants described their landlords as unapproachable in the above survey, this is a figure which would be even lower in an ideal world. As a landlord it’s important you don’t get complacent or take your tenants for granted. Making sure you are friendly, approachable and responsive (assuming the requests aren’t unreasonable or ridiculous) will increase your chances of a good relationship with your tenants.
Tenants, for their part, will appreciate honesty, clarity and regular communication. If you want to carry out an inspection of your rental homes, do your tenants the courtesy of letting them know first. If you want to raise rents, explain your reasons for this to your tenants. To avoid any confusion and to reduce the risk of disputes at a later date, make sure you have a clear and thorough tenancy agreement in place, detailing the do’s and don’ts, rights and obligations of your tenants.
Furthermore, a detailed inventory – at the start and end of a tenancy – will also help to avoid any major issues.
Put simply, a good relationship with tenants doesn’t take much time or effort – just common sense, good practice and a willingness to show you are on their side and looking out for their best interests. While tenants have a duty to pay their rent on time, look after the home they live in and adhere to the tenancy agreement put in place, you have a duty to keep them safe, warm and in a home that is in good condition.
It’s in everyone’s interests for mutually beneficial tenancies to be the norm, so it’s advisable to work with – rather than against – your tenants to address any issues as they arise.