The things that tenants think but don’t say

Do you know what tenants want?

It’s easy to think we do. Perhaps you’re an experienced landlord and you feel you’ve got an instinctive grasp of what the market wants. Maybe you’ve just started out as a landlord and you’re using your memories of what it was like when you were a tenant to judge how tenants think and what they’re looking for.

NatWest recently released its Landlords & Tenants Survey, where they asked 1000 landlords and 1000 tenants across the UK about their attitudes to things like rent, communication and what they look for when viewing properties.

We’ve crunched the data to look at landlords and tenants in Scotland specifically, to cut through the guesswork and give you some insights into what tenants in Scotland think and do.

Are we advertising properties in the right places?

How are Scottish properties commonly advertised by landlords and how do Scottish tenants prefer to look for a new place to live?

  • 46% of landlords said they specifically advertise to new tenants with high street agents, with 27% advertising on property websites like Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree
  • When tenants in Scotland were asked how they found their current property, only 5% listed high street agents, with 42% preferring the convenience of property websites

Could it be that landlords could be cutting out the middle man and advertising their properties online themselves?

What’s most important to tenants when they’re searching for a property?

The study asked tenants about their top priorities when looking for a property in Scotland. What’s more interesting is how this compares to what most landlords think would be important to a prospective tenant.

  • Unsurprisingly, landlords knew the top priority for tenants would be the amount of rent. But, while 46% of landlords got this right, it seems rent is important to a greater proportion of tenants, 61% listed it as their top priority.
  • 35% of landlords thought the location was important to Scottish tenants, which it is, but by comparison, only 18% of tenants chose it as a top priority.

What are the factors that encourage tenants to take the property when viewing?

So you’ve put your advert in the right place, your property is in the right place, you’ve attracted some great tenants and the viewing date is set.

But what are the most important factors for Scottish tenants on a viewing? And what do tenants actually look for?

  • 69% of landlords with properties in Scotland thought a clean and tidy property would be important to viewing tenants. 40% of landlords thought ‘being able to ask lots of questions’ was a priority too.
  • Cleanliness was important to tenants in Scotland (58% selected this), and being able to ask questions too (43%). But 42% of tenants said ‘having enough time to look around’ was important to them, something only 22% of landlords selected as something they thought would be important to tenants.
  • Finding out when the current tenants are leaving is important to 15% of tenants in Scotland, but only 8% of landlords thought it was.

Be aware of tenant bugbears, as well as your own

If you have good tenants and want them to extend their tenancy, it’s important to get ahead of the kinds of issues that put them off staying put.

  • 34% of tenants listedlandlords that are slow to deal with issues’ as a bugbear, followed by issues with ‘damp and mould’, which was chosen by 33%
  • Unsurprisingly, 60% of us agreed that tenants who damage and neglect our properties, don’t pay rent on time or at all (49%) and don’t clean regularly (42%) encompass our top three pet hates.

Among the key takeaways here, it’s important to think about the best places to advertise your property. High street agents might be working for you, but don’t ignore online solutions.

While a property’s location is a big factor for tenants, a competitive rent is a bigger one. Keep this in mind when setting or negotiating your price. And when it comes to viewing time, you want to present your property as best as possible – definitely make sure the current tenants keep the place tidy. But, as the statistics indicate, don’t forget to arrange enough time for your prospective tenants to get a real feel for the place and to ask all their questions.

Finally, most of us want to keep good tenants, those that will respect our properties and keep them clean. If you want to encourage tenants to extend their tenancy then issues, like problems with mould, should be dealt with in a timely way.

What’s your experience? Let us know here.