Landlords who manage their own properties will always hope to attract the most low-maintenance, hassle-free tenants, but how do you choose your target market?
How much time landlords spend on property management can vary depending on the tenants, property type and location, and new data from the National Landlords Association has revealed the factors that influence this the most for landlords.
According to the research, families are actually the ideal tenant type for landlords wanting to spend the least time managing their properties, with less queries and property maintenance requests than, for example, executive lets or single people, with those on benefits also taking up more time.
For landlords housing families and young couples, the time spent managing their buy-to-let properties amounts to an average of one full working day a week (or eight hours), while those who let to migrant workers, benefit recipients or executive lets claim to spend as much as 12 hours a week dealing with the property.
One reason for this could be that families tend to want to stay in one place for longer as they seek increased stability, and so the landlord will not be regularly drawing up contracts for new tenants. Also, with the recent Right To Rent rules meaning landlords can face penalties if they let properties to those who do not have the right to be in the UK, renting to a migrant worker could involve more paperwork. Executive lets – which are short-term lets for businesses, usually for employees on business trips for example – are also demanding on a landlord’s time.
Another major factor seems to be location, with landlords in the north-west and Yorkshire claiming to spend around 10 hours a week managing their properties, compared to just five and a half hours for those in the south-east. The reasons for this are unclear, but could be explained by there being a higher number of accidental landlords in the north-west and Yorkshire, which could mean that there are more landlords who self-manage than use an agent as they only have one property.
Going green could benefit landlords
An energy-efficient home also takes up less time – those with properties that have an EPC rating of D or higher spend two hours less each week on dealing with their properties. Presumably, this is because the appliances are newer and better quality and so need much less maintenance, while well-insulated homes will suffer from fewer issues such as damp and mould. Landlords opting for new-builds will therefore find themselves with more free time than those buying older properties with cheaper appliances.
Richard Lambert, NLA chief executive officer, said: “This data reinforces the fact that families make good, reliable, and long-term tenants, but some landlords can be put off by the perceived risk of more damage or wear and tear to the property or its contents.
“However, if you’re properly maintaining the property then tenants will be more likely to stay for longer anyway, particularly families who typically seek more stability.”
“This is just one more argument for establishing a proper maintenance schedule in the first place,” he added.