What your tenants want

Posted: 7th Jan 2015

Running a successful buy to let business may rely upon the basic guiding principle that determines the success of practically any other enterprise – delivering what the customer wants.

In the case of a landlord, of course, the customer is the existing or prospective tenant. The tenants’ expectations and aspirations regarding a let property may determine not only whether they are interested in moving in, but the respect with which they might treat the property and the length of time they choose to maintain the tenancy.

Given the potentially critical importance of delivering just what the tenant wants, we at Cover4LetProperty have conducted our own research into just what this might be:

Rent levels

  • our latest data, compiled as recently as October 2014, for instance suggests that the price of the rent is the leading factor, being highlighted by a significant 87% of tenants who responded to our survey;
  • this suggests that you pitch the rent you demand at as a reasonable price as possible – after taking into account your outgoing expenses such as mortgage repayments, maintenance and of course landlord insurance;

Location

  • location has become something of a watchword when it comes to choosing a place to live – and renters appear to be no different;
  • our research shows that an equally significant 80% of respondents gave the location of the let property – and its ease of access to bus routes, work and universities, for example – as a priority;
  • a survey conducted by estate agents Savills also put location on tenants’ list of priorities and found that 55% of younger tenants (between 18 and 25 years of age) and 20% of over 45-year olds were prepared to pay a higher rent for being able to live closer to work or university;

Parking

  • there is a similar convergence of research data when it comes to the provision of parking facilities;
  • it may come as little surprise that in the survey conducted by Savills, tenants preferred off-street parking to allocated on-street parking, although it also revealed that tenants are generally not prepared to pay a higher rent for the access to off-street parking;
  • this tends to confirm our own findings that there is no direct correlation between amenities and facilities and the level of rent that tenants are prepared to pay – some things may be expected to be supplied by the landlord effectively free of charge;

Tenant profiles

  • the study conducted by Savills found that tenants tend to be renting for longer periods and that more of them are families, including children, than may have been the case a few years ago;
  • this reflected accordingly in some of the things that today’s tenants may want – ease of access to childcare facilities and schools, for example, or somewhere outside, such as a garden, in which to play;

Age and sex

  • both our own research and that conducted by Savills suggest some re-ordering of priorities according to particular the age group into which tenants fall and whether they are male or female.

Of course there is no magic bullet that is going to ensure you may always let your property to the tenants you especially want. By taking into account these leading surveys of tenants’ expectations and aspirations, however, you may be better prepared to meet the market demand.