Tenants are the life blood of an investment property and in order to have the best return over the long run for the property, it is essential to attract and retain top quality tenants. Reducing vacant periods is critical to cash flow.
In this article we are going to assume that you already have sourced a quality tenant. This is the first and most important step of being successful with an investment property. Ninety percent of the success of your property is in this initial step.
The best piece of advice I have ever received on this subject of retaining top quality tenants is to view each of them as customers.
It is vital in your relationship with your tenants to be friendly with them. Don´t change once they´ve signed your contract and are legally bound to the property.
However, there is a fine balance between being friendly and being friends. Being friends means consumption of your time, phone calls in the evening about trifling matters and it can make it difficult to deal firmly with nonnegotiable matters such as the timely paying of rent.
Here are six keys to causing a tenant to turn into your best customer:
1. Always give plenty of warning before having to enter the flat, whether for maintenance, inspection or otherwise. Contracts in Czech Republic can have a notice period from 1 day to 3 days prior to entrance but don´t insist on the letter of the contract if the tenant is not agreeable to a certain day. Be flexible and reasonable.
2. Change locks if requested and even suggest it in certain situations. If a tenant loses their keys or their property is broken into, change the locks for them. Even if they don´t request it you can suggest that they do so for their own safety. They will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
3. Have portable electric heaters available in the case of emergencies. Sometimes construction or unforeseen circumstances (like the Ukraine blocking natural gas flow!) will cause the property not to be heated properly. This can be particularly true in new construction or reconstructions when the tenants are the first ones to occupy and glitches have not been worked out.
4. Remember their names! Nothing shows personal interest more than being able to remember the names of your tenants if you see them around the building or town. Also, any other specific details about their life such as where they work or family member´s names. Warning – if the tenant is Czech, sometimes additional questions may be viewed as intrusive rather than personal interest.
5. Listen to your tenants with both ears open and your mouth shut. Practise good listening by looking them straight in the eye, asking additional questions and not jumping in to offer a quick answer.
6. Redecorate before your best tenant moves out. It is often common practise to repaint or decorate an apartment after the tenants have left. However, if you notice that there are things which need attention while the tenant is there, you can be guaranteed that the tenants notices them also and might be looking for an apartment in better condition. Offer to paint the flat or make necessary improvements before the tenant gives you their notice.
In the buy to let business the easiest part is to manage the property itself. Much more difficult is to manage people.
Become skilled at managing the people in your property and you will find the key to successful buy-to-lets.
©2009 CZECH POINT 101 s.r.o.
This report is published for general information only. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information, analysis, views and projections presented in this report, no legal responsibility can be accepted by Nathan Brown or Czech Point 101 for any loss or damage resultant from the contents of this document. As a general report, this material does not necessarily represent the view of Czech Point 101 in relation to particular properties or projects. Reproduction of this report in whole or in part is allowed with written permission from Czech Point 101.