What sort of Tenant are you seeking to attract?

Some investors give serious consideration to the type of tenant they are seeking to attract in the belief that this will help in deciding what to buy and where to buy.

The requirements of a young professional couple without children are usually entirely different to those of a couple with young children, teenagers, or young adults at university.  Gardens, car-parking, internet access, proximity to town, school catchment areas, railway station, major roads etc. can all play a part. 

Student accommodation is in many ways unique. Because they are not generally earning a salary, student tenants will require guarantors; usually parents.  Student accommodation usually falls into the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) camp.  The tenancies are usually all drawn up in the same month, to coincide with term dates and very often reserved some months in advance.  It’s possible to target this market and miss out entirely through timing issues and not understanding the manner in which such tenancies are arranged.  If this is your target market, definitely take advice.

It is, however, possible to get too wrapped up in tenant type. Many landlords tell us that they would like “a young professional couple, with no children and no pets”. There is no reason at all why this shouldn’t be your aim, but you will inevitably rule out perfectly good and experienced tenants who are respectful of your property and who will pay their rent on time.  And, young professional couples can potentially be just as troublesome as any other tenant.

Some landlords would rather two incomes, just in case one loses a job.  Others prefer no children because of the perceived wear and tear.  Many landlords, especially where they own a 3 bed property, would rather a family since there is a chance of stability and longevity to the tenancy.  This is particularly important to bear in mind if a property is in the catchment area of a favoured school.  It isn't uncommon for tenants to stay put in a property until schooling is finished.

Pets can be quite an emotive subject.  Occasionally a landlord will cite an allergy as a reason not to allow pets.  If he is intending to live there again himself then this might make sense, but if he isn't ever going to live there, this allergy will turn away a significant proportion of all applicants who might otherwise be absolutely ideal.  In fact, simply allowing a cat is very often sufficient to secure a quick letting at the full asking price.  A larger deposit is taken where pets are kept at the property and terms of the tenancy agreement make the tenant responsible for cleaning carpets and sift-furnishings with appropriate treatments at the end of the tenancy.

Sometimes it is simply far easier to set out your stall and allow market forces to dictate who the applicant will be. For every tenant that wants to be near the railway station, there is one who wants to live somewhere offering convenient access to the motorway.  Being next to a school might be handy for parents, but for many, the noise, or the inconvenience of the school-run each morning is just too much to put up with.  And remember, subject to not discriminating in certain regards, you are under no obligation to accept any particular application. 

Buy the right property, present it correctly and price it accordingly and generally you will receive applications that will be suitable.