The UK property market can seem a contradictory place. On the one hand, there’s clearly a shortage of residential property and that definitely includes rental property. On the other hand, even in the most buoyant markets, landlords are still in competition with each other for the best tenants. With that in mind, here are three tips on ensuring your property is attractive to prospective tenants.

Decide on your market first and look for properties which appeal to that market

Different groups of people tend to look for different features in a property. For example, students want easy access to their university, young adult professionals want good transport links to their work, families want good schools and empty-nesters want to be able to have family over for visits and as house guests. Even if you buy a property which could, in principle, suit any and all of these demographics, it is usually best to pick your most promising market and customize your property to suit their needs rather than trying to make it “all things to all people”.

Think carefully about the furniture you choose, or consider letting the property unfurnished

Furnished rental property has long been the standard in the UK, even though it is the exception in many other countries. When letting to students, furnished property is likely to remain the standard for some time to come, but it may be time to rethink this approach for other markets, particularly since landlords now have to itemize any updates to their property rather than just claiming a standard “wear and tear” allowance. Landlords will still have to take care of kitchens and bathrooms, which are generally designed and implemented on a “set and forget” basis.

It may, however, be more appropriate to leave other rooms unfurnished and set the rent accordingly. Then the tenant has full control over the appearance of their home and the landlord has less to manage. You might also want to consider allowing the tenant to make cosmetic alterations to the property, even if it means drilling, provided that they set the property back to its original condition before they leave it.

Be realistic about the level of rent and the size of the security deposit

The more affordable your property is, the greater the number of tenants who could feasibly consider renting it and, therefore, the higher your chances of finding good ones. This doesn’t mean you should “race to the bottom”, but it does mean you might want to think about setting your rent at the highest level you could feasibly achieve.

You might also want to think very carefully about how large a security deposit you will request. Think about the situation from a renter’s perspective. Even if they have it on good authority that you are both as honest and as organized as can be and will return their deposit promptly and in full when they vacate the property, the fact still remains that their money will be tied up in a secure deposit scheme for as long as they stay in your property, instead of being used as they see fit. Given that you will presumably be undertaking background checks and will only accept people who are solvent and respectable, you may want to consider minimizing the amount of money you take as a security deposit.

Author Bio: Hopwood House are one of the UK’s premier property investment companies, with a wide range of investment opportunities in the student property, buy-to-let and care home investment markets.

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Daniel Peacock

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