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Market Thoughts column: Is now the time for landlords to increase rents?

Andrew Le Mesurier is the manager of Northwood in Market Harborough, based at Harborough Innovation Centre.

Andrew Le Mesurier is the manager of Northwood in Market Harborough, based at Harborough Innovation Centre.

 

With the reported signs of economic recovery alluding to rises in rental income for landlords, it is not surprising that more landlords will be tempted to raise rents this year than in previous years, particularly if they have held off from doing so in the past.

It may be that Harborough is attracting an ever-growing stream of higher earners from London and the south looking for more value for their money but within commuting distance of their jobs. This has naturally kept rents in Harborough somewhat higher than other parts of the county.

So the temptation is there for landlords to feel that if a tenant is not prepared to pay the rent increase, there are plenty waiting who will.

Many landlords are prepared to take the risk of finding another tenant if the current tenant decides to move on rather than agree to a rent increase, however they should consider the safety of a good tenant who pays on time and looks after the property as their own versus starting again with a total stranger.

We take great care in finding quality tenants but it can be a daunting task for inexperienced landlords.

Many landlords are quite rightly separated from their tenants by a managing agent who takes care of their property for them. So in most cases the landlord doesn’t know much about who is living in their property as long as the rent is paid on time, as they expect their agent to be the tenant’s port of call.

It is, after all, what an agent is paid to do.

It is, however, a good idea when approaching renewal time to get some useful information from the managing agent about how the tenancy has gone. Reviewing the inspection reports, checking that the rent has been consistently on time and assessing the last period’s maintenance record can all give good indicators for how the tenancy has been running and if the property has been treated well.

Most experienced landlords will agree that a happy tenant who looks after the property and pays on time is worth far more than a significant rent increase with the possibility of that tenant deciding to move on.

That said, most tenants will agree to a fair rent increase if they are really happy in the property and feel well looked after by their landlord/agent.

It all boils down to good management and, indeed, the expectations on both sides.

Landlords need to weigh up the options and if it means being more negotiable with a reliable tenant then this should not be under estimated.

Column by Andrew Le Mesurier. Andrew is the manager of Northwood in Market Harborough, based at Harborough Innovation Centre.

Follow the firm on Twitter, @Northwood_MH.

 

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