How do you find a tenants without a letting agent?17/09/20
You’ve invested money in property, and now you want to let it.
How do you get tenants if you want to do it yourself rather than use a letting agent?
Firstly you need time. It’s important that you match the right tenants to your property so you need a targeted marketing strategy.
In today’s competitive world, a ‘for rent’ sign outside the house just won’t cut it; you must take a proactive approach.
10 marketing ideas for your property
Be on the ground
This may be difficult if you don’t live close to the property that you’re trying to rent out, but you should really understand the local neighbourhood so you can get the right kind of tenant.
The downside; If you are not in the same geographic location, this may be difficult to do.
Set up a website
Here you can list all the details of your property or properties, such as images, floor plans, and specifics. You’ll need good quality images and the help of a web designer - unless you have those skills yourself.
The downside: Websites, website designers and professional photographers cost money. Your budget may be better spent on a letting agent.
Target your tenant
You need a specific target market. What type of accommodation do you want to rent out? Student housing? Long-term rental? If you direct your advertising to the right demographic, you’ll get the best tenant for your property.
The downside: Do you really know the student market? The neighbourhood? Unless you do, this could be time-consuming.
It could be as simple as asking friends and family if they need somewhere to live.
The downside: If they know you, they may expect to pay less rent or feel you’ll be OK about them missing a payment or two. It’s difficult if it’s personal.
Where you advertise is key. Local press is a good place to start but you may also want to consider the nationals. If you’re spending money on advertising try, to get ‘added value’. For example, ask to be featured as a ‘property of the week’ in a local newspaper.
The downside: Again this is going to cost money. You might want to weigh up the cost of advertising against how much you would be paying a letting agent and see what makes more sense.
Talk about it
Word of mouth is a good way to get your property noticed. Ask your customers to write positive reviews for your website and give them incentives for sending people your way. The more you can encourage them to give you a positive vibe in the community, the easier it will be to find new renters for your properties.
The downside: This isn’t a foolproof way of getting tenants. One negative post might not be the end of the world but it could make you feel demoralised.
Use social media
Set up social media accounts for your properties and keep them updated. Include accounts like Pinterest and Instagram which are more visual than say, Twitter, and you can share images of the property and the kind of neighbourhood it is in. You need to be active to attract likes and interest. Maybe you can get your other tenants involved with recommendations too.
The downside: This is time-consuming as you need to keep posting on all your accounts.
Become part of the community
If you have several properties in one area, then being part of the community doesn’t hurt. Sponsor something local like a school competition, or have a stall at a community festival. By moving your brand into the public sphere you become more trustworthy as a source of rental properties that locals will recommend when their friends want to move into the area.
The downside: Again these things cost money which might be better spent on a letting agent.
Plan for tomorrow
You need to be proactive and keep the interest going. Create email lists of interested renters and develop valuable community content for these lists to let people know about your rental community.
The downside: You may think that this is one extra job you don’t need to do but it’s the time you put into your property that yields results. If you haven’t got the time don’t do it yourself.
You need a sign
The simple ‘for rent’ sign might work.
The downside: If you have numerous properties in one area a whole bunch of for rent signs just look untidy.
Once you’ve found a potential tenant
You’ll need to arrange and attend viewings of the property, conduct any referencing or right-to-rent checks, set up a tenancy agreement to be signed by both you and the tenant, which is legally enforceable and you’ll need to create an inventory of the property for accurate and fair deposit deductions at the end of tenancy.
Things you need to know
A landlord is required to fulfill several obligations.
Holding a gas safety certificate
The landlord must ensure that the gas appliances in the property are safe and are inspected at least once a year by a Gas Safe Registry-registered tradesperson. A property cannot be rented out without a gas safety certificate. It must be kept by a landlord for a minimum of two years from the date of the inspection.
Electrical safety check
In order to demonstrate ‘due diligence’ with regards to ensuring a property is safe, it is recommended that an electrical safety check is conducted. This is not a legal requirement (yet) in the same way as a gas safety certificate, but under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which encompasses the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Plugs and Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994, there is an obligation for the landlord to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe.
Association of Rental Letting Agents (ARLA): arla.co.uk
Gas Safe Register: gassaferegister.co.uk
National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC): niceic.com
The Deposit Protection Service: depositprotection.com
Nearly all private landlords and letting agents taking deposits for assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales are required to safeguard them with a government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
All properties built after June 1992 are required by the Buildings Regulations to have mains-operated inter-connected smoke alarms fitted on every level of the property.
Older properties do not have to comply, but landlords are advised to have battery-operated alarms fitted.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): an EPC is required in order to market a property for rent; otherwise the landlord risks a fine of £200 from the local Trading Standards officer. If you are letting out a property to three or more tenants, who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet then a HMO license is required.
For a full list of conditions and types of properties that qualify please see www.gov.uk/house-inmultiple-occupation-licence