The news nowadays is crawling with headlines about the cost of living crisis. The price of almost everything is on the rise and it may feel like a very bleak time for many. Because of this, homelessness is also on the rise. Whilst many landlords may find this daunting and be at a loss of how to respond and assist their tenants who are at threat of homelessness, here are 8 ways you can help your Tenants:
Preventing homelessness starts before the Tenant even moves in to your property. You should always make sure your Tenants are definitely able to afford the rent and it is within their budget, even with the cost of living increasing. Since we are heading into a recession you should also consider how risky the Tenants job is, certain jobs are riskier than others during a recession and it is vital to be cautious if it is a high-risk job. This may seem like a complicated process, so we will be more than happy to do this for you.
Invest in your property’s energy efficiency
A small investment in the energy efficiency of your property can sometimes make a large difference on your Tenants bills. Whilst some improvements may carry high costs, some cheaper small improvements (like draught-proofing) can make a considerable difference for the Tenants cost of living. Additionally, 52% of tenants are happier to pay more rent for a greener house, it may be well worth the investment in the long run.
Keep your property in great condition
Ideally you want to achieve the highest rent possible for your property and reduce any void periods when the property isn’t let. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure your property is in great condition so that it is always appealing to the local tenants. When working with us, we can advise you what improvements can be made to increase the rent.
Not everyone has access to a homeowner guarantor. By being flexible with who you will allow as a guarantor you may open yourself up to a whole range of new potential Tenants who may have never considered your property previously. Knowing when to be flexible and who to accept as a guarantor can be very complicated, we will be more than happy to advise on this.
Furthermore, knowing when and how to turn to a guarantor in a scenario of unpaid rent is important. This can feel quite overwhelming for some Landlords and knowing your legal standing is vital.
Offer a longer contract
Many Tenants would prefer the stability of a longer contract, this can be beneficial for you as well as it means you won’t have a void period for a while. Considering offering your tenants a contract for longer than 12 months if possible means they are less likely to be pushed into homelessness. However, knowing who to offer this to is crucial as you would ideally not want to be stuck with problematic tenants for a long time.
Reduce your risk with Landlords insurance
You may want to think about taking out Landlords insurance to protect you and your property if things go wrong. This would cover you for periods of unpaid rent and may cover legal costs too. You might even want to consider an insurance cover that includes damage to the property by Tenants since the price of repairs has increased too.
Accept Tenants who claim housing benefits or Universal Credit
Rejecting a tenancy application on the grounds of them receiving benefits may count as discrimination. Some Tenants who receive housing benefits can be extremely reliable, especially if the rent is paid directly to the Landlord or agent. Knowing how to navigate the different benefit schemes can be confusing so make sure you know what your doing before you proceed with accepting a Tenant on benefits.
Be open and communicate regularly with your Tenants
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, most problems can be avoided with transparent and regular communication with your Tenants. Knowing their situation and ensuring they understand your rising costs can help avoid nasty disputes. Having regular dialogues with your Tenants so you appreciate their financial status prior to increasing rental fees and avoiding rushed decisions can benefit everyone and reduce the risk of them moving, or worst – be threatened with homelessness. Often, if disputes do arise these are better handled at a distance, with a managing agency acting on your behalf, so the tenant cannot persuade you into accepting lower rent. Having an agent can also often help mitigate any potential disputes in the future.
Finally, having a lettings and managing agent representing you is extremely valuable, both in finding new Tenants and managing a tenancy to ensure you achieve the best rent possible and assist if the tenant is struggling to pay their rent on time. Please reach out if you would like any further advise or would like help letting or managing your property.