The Ultimate Landlord’s Guide For Covid-19
One minute you’re making holiday plans, the next you’re looking at underground bunkers online. Life comes at you fast.
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No one could have predicted how Covid-19 would change the world, but here we are — adapting to the new normal in all aspects of life, including the UK housing market. But even with a second lockdown, things are improving in the property market.
Despite coronavirus, the UK private rental sector is predicted to account for a quarter of all UK homes within the next 12 months. As a landlord, you want to make sure you’re in the best position to grab the attention of potential new tenants.
This is your play to get high-calibre occupants for your property. But Covid-19 has changed the game. Now isn’t the time to worry about being left behind, though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: it’s a moment to seize the opportunity in front of you and make sure your property stands out from a glut of new homes about to enter the market.
And we’re here to help with this ultimate landlord’s guide on how to navigate letting your buy-to-let during (and after) Covid-19. Read on, and make sure you’re ready for the influx of demand that’s about to hit the rental market.
Embrace the flexibility of the rental market
Renting doesn’t require the same long-term commitment as buying a home. During the current climate, those who need to move are more likely to do so via renting while they wait to see how the housing market develops in the longer term.
As a landlord, you’re in a fantastic position to attract a raft of new renters, people who wouldn’t necessarily find themselves looking for a rental property under normal circumstances. To stand the best chance of acquiring new tenants, you should try and be flexible with your demands.
Almost half of the UK owns a pet, so it might be worth exploring the idea of letting little Rex and Rover move in with their owners. Be flexible on contract lengths, too. 12 months or longer is ideal, but there could be rental opportunities even if the length is slightly shorter.
Some tenants are willing to pay a more substantial amount upfront, which is often the case with shorter-term rentals. A shorter let also gives you more flexibility and, if you both agree, the initial six-month contract can turn into a periodic tenancy.
Save money on advertising your property
There’s no point trying to sugar coat the current climate: people are looking to cut costs where necessary. This is true for many professional set ups, and letting your flat is a form of business. You’ll want to save money where possible and avoid spending thousands on marketing your property.
Listing your home with Mashroom is completely free, and includes marketing on major portals Rightmove and Zoopla. That’s free access to more than one-million renters, who will see your property listing on the web’s most-visited websites.
Maintain social distancing during property viewings
New rules mean everyone involved with a property viewing must practice social distancing. That includes the renter, current tenant and the landlord/letting agent. Having too many cooks in the kitchen, however, could make navigating social distancing very tricky during physical viewings.
As a result, you should make sure you follow a set of practices to make viewings safe:
- Wear gloves and a facemask where possible
- Supply spare gloves and face masks for viewers
- Leave all cupboards and doors open so people don’t need to touch them
- Remain two meters apart
- If possible, leave the property during the viewing
- Make sure the property is thoroughly cleaned, including communal areas
One way to have fewer people on a viewing is by working with your outgoing tenant and asking them to conduct viewings on your behalf. Not only will you limit the number of people required for a property viewing; you’ll also have someone who knows the property inside out showing it to renters.
They can offer vital info that renters want to know, such as what it’s really like to live in the property. Tenant Team Up with Mashroom rewards outgoing tenants who successfully show the property to its next tenant. And you can benefit from tapping into their expertise.
Create a video walkthrough for your property
Not every situation will see you letting your property with someone in situ. Nor will all incoming tenants feel comfortable attending a physical viewing. Fortunately, there’s a workaround. Virtual viewings have significantly increased in popularity since lockdown, and they can be a huge benefit to you too.
Take a short video of your property to let interested renters know what they can expect. Capture all the rooms and benefits that make it stand out (did someone say wine cooler? Where do we sign the contract?).
You don’t need to be the next Martin Scorsese, but a clear walkthrough of your property can convince a renter who is sitting on the fence to attend a physical viewing. It might even be enough for them to make an offer without seeing it in person, especially if you do do a live video call viewing.
Widen your tenant pool with the deposit replacement scheme
Finding new tenants is a case of Supply and Demand 101. With companies like Airbnb moving into long-term rentals and would-be student properties coming back on the market as normal lets, it’s likely there will be a spate of new homes entering the market. You’ll want to widen your tenant pool and make sure your property is high in demand with renters.
One way to increase appeal is by offering deposit-free renting. Using the scheme is a win-win for landlords: it offers you the same protection as regular security deposits while allowing cash-strapped tenants to avoid having to front hundreds or even thousands of pounds in deposits, which will make your buy-to-let even more attractive.
A whopping 70% of tenants are in favour of a scheme that requires them to pay less upfront. Offering deposit-free renting caters to a key demand of modern-day renters and will give you a significant advantage over landlords who don’t use the scheme.
Decorate your property where possible
We’re not saying that you should renovate your new home from top to bottom (we saw the queues outside B&Q recently). But adding a few little touches here and there will help increase your property’s appeal.
A lick of paint (thank you very much, Amazon Prime delivery) or maybe a new shelf that provides extra storage space should add to the appeal of your property, which will be helpful if it’s struggling to get enquiries.
Embrace electronic signatures with e-sign
The rental market is already moving into a space where most elements take place online. You can be a progressive landlord by embracing tech solutions that favour the world we find ourselves in now.
Offering options such as e-sign for contracts and referencing online will save time, money and make the process more seamless. A landlord’s worst nightmare is long void periods, so finding ways to speed up the process is always welcome.
Modern-day renters are tech-savvy and want to use platforms that make processes more manageable, especially as many don’t have access to things like printers. Using Mashroom means everything is taken care of under one roof, including document and contract e-sign, as well as tenant referencing and automated rental payments.
Maintain communication with tenants
Many businesses aren’t operating at normal capacity while we find ourselves in lockdown. As a result, working hours are reduced in some cases. If, however, you can use a service that’s 24/7, you’ll be better placed to handle everything in real time.
Mashroom sends enquiries to you directly, meaning you’re the first to find out about renters interest. You can respond in a timely manner and, now, more than ever, it’s important to have communication with your new tenant.
You don’t need to hop and skip together (two meters apart) in the park, but it helps to know the profile of the person living in your property. The majority of landlords we speak to say that having trustworthy tenants is just as important as achieving good rental income.
Having a line of communication will help build trust and maintain the relationship with your tenant.
The 2020 landlord
There’s every chance that the UK rental market is about to go into overdrive, and you want to be prepared for demand that comes from renters. By following our tips, we believe you will find yourself in a great position to let your property in a speedy manner.
No one could have predicted that the world would look like this months ago. But as life starts to resume some form of normalcy, there are home comforts to be had knowing that your property can still receive plenty of demand from eager renters.