Ocasa, the specialist rental platform, has produced a list of new year’s resolutions for landlords and tenants to help survive and even thrive during what is likely to be a difficult year ahead.
New Year’s Resolutions for Landlords
Be a proactive responder and clear communicator
When tenants report issues or concerns, listen, respond, and act quickly rather than letting issues remain and potentially worsen. This ensures tenant relationships are good and also reduces the risk of inexpensive fixes turning into costly repairs.
On a similar note, working with a preventative maintenance schedule is also a great idea – it means issues can be nipped in the bud before they become serious.
Good communication is a resolution that will improve the tenancy experience for everyone involved. Landlords know what their tenants’ expectations are and vice versa. This will foster a relationship of mutual respect which means, if any issues do arise, they will be easier and less stressful to resolve.
Secure the property
It’s unfairly common for rental properties to have lacklustre home security far below the standards that a landlord would wish for their own home. A landlord who always ensures that doors, entryways, and windows are secure with sturdy locks and that security alarms are in place and functioning correctly will make tenants feel safer and, therefore, happier. It also reduces the risk of having to spend money repairing the damage done by opportunistic burglars.
Invest in the property
Proactive maintenance and upgrade investment can mean more short-term expenditure for a landlord, but the long-term benefits are ten-fold. This includes simple jobs like painting and decorative work, perhaps a little garden landscaping too, but also big jobs such as double-glazed windows and boiler upgrades.
Failing to be proactive means accepting the fact that, sooner or later, something will break. And when it does, the cost can be brutal.
Resolving to foster long-term relationships is only ever a good thing. Long tenancies mean less turnover, less administration, and fewer void days.
Furthermore, long-term relationships with maintenance companies often mean that issues can be addressed faster because they value the landlord’s repeat business and will, therefore, move heaven and earth to get to a maintenance call-out as quickly as possible.
Finally, longevity helps build trust and if two parties trust each other, everything is so much easier.
New Year’s Resolutions for Tenants
Tenants should resolve to communicate clearly with their landlord. This means telling the landlord exactly what you hope for and expect from the tenancy and the property itself, and it also means being proactive in reporting maintenance issues in good time rather than leaving them for fester.
Tenants should also feel comfortable to communicate improvements they want to see around the home, such as double-glazing or more efficient and contemporary central heating.
Clean and declutter
A good resolution is to keep the property clean and tidy at all times. This doesn’t mean folding and putting away every item of clothing each night before bed, but it does mean cleaning the oven every couple of months to avoid an unmanageable buildup of gunk, or cleaning the bathroom to avoid any issues like damp or mould.
Request permissions for changes you want to make
Tenants shouldn’t be afraid to make requests from their landlord. While painting the walls might be forbidden in the tenancy agreement, it doesn’t mean a direct request can’t be made to the landlord if a home or room is starting to look particularly drab. More often than not, a request to repaint a room will be granted and if the tenant buys the paint themselves and does the work, the landlord will likely reimburse any costs.
Negotiate on rent
During this cost of living crisis, many tenants are struggling to keep their heads above water. What they should do is communicate with their landlord and negotiate a little breathing room. Many landlords would prefer to temporarily reduce the rent than have a tenant go into arrears or move out, thus causing all sorts of admin and lost income.
Alternatively, tenants could suggest changes or improvements to the property that will reduce their expenses, such as an improved central heating system.
Despite the common preconception of landlords, most are sensible and compassionate. They understand the difficulties being faced by tenants and want to help in any reasonable way they can.
Sales and Marketing Director at Ocasa, Jack Godby, commented:
“Underneath it all, the majority of this advice revolves around communication and mutual respect. The relationship between landlord and tenant is not purely a business one, or at least it shouldn’t be. The landlord is providing a home – there is nothing more important or personal than that.
This mutual respect will help both parties understand the hard times that each is experiencing and the honesty with which they are trying to honour the agreement they have made with one another. The opposite of this is disagreement, suspicion, and conflict from which there is no positive result.
2023 might be a year of stress and anxiety for many, so let’s try and do everything we can to ensure that the home does not become a pawn in the game.”