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Trellows Investments

Improving communication with your tenants When investing in the buy-to-let sector it is important to have a good relationship with your tenants, and that often requires good communication.

If you communicate well, both parties will understand their responsibilities, know that the other is keeping to theirs, and the tenancy will typically run more smoothly, which is what is required if you are looking to keep a tenant in your property on a long-term basis.

Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK, commented: “If tenants are clear on what to expect, they are more likely to be satisfied and stay in the property for longer – at least as long as those expectations are then met. This can help reduce arrears and void periods for letting agents and landlords.”

According to PayProp, providing better information to renters about what they should expect from landlords and letting agents can ensure greater customer satisfaction.

The lettings payment automation provider says that educating tenants on the roles and expectations of each party can reduce confusion – and also reduce the chance of disputes.

But with research by the National Landlords Association (NLA) revealing four out five – 79% – tenants require better information on the roles and responsibilities of landlords and letting agents, clearly more needs to be done in this area.

Cobbold commented: “Proactively educating tenants on the rental process from the outset can save agents time from having to mediate unnecessary disputes between landlords and tenants.

“Some key areas where tenants may lack understanding relate to financial obligations and property upkeep. It’s very important to make sure tenants are kept informed throughout the tenancy. Often tenants are set wondering: ‘Has my rent been received?’, ‘How much do I owe?’, ‘Is my deposit safe?’, ‘Is it my responsibility?’ and ‘Who pays for repair work?’”

The How to Rent guide is a valuable resource, and yet a study by the NLA found that 67% of almost 900 tenants surveyed said that they were not aware of the government’s How to Rent guide which is a legal obligation for them to receive one at the start of a tenancy designed to help them understand their rights and responsibilities.

Cobbold continued: “Agents could do more to promote the How to Rent guide to consumers. It’s a free government resource that is updated regularly and includes a lot the information renters may need,” he explains.

“By making sure tenants not only read but understand this guide, letting agencies can manage expectations from the outset of a tenancy and save time and money on creating their own educational materials.”

Aside from promoting the How to Rent guide, letting agents and indeed landlords could take additional steps to help educate tenants and improve renter satisfaction.

Cobbold adds that key lease terms such as payment dates, tenancy lengths and notice periods should all be set out in a clear and accessible manner so tenants know what is expected of them and when.

He added: “A concerted effort from agencies and landlords to provide renters with more clarity could make for a more harmonious and efficient private rented sector.”