Category Coronavirus

COVID-19 And Lettings: How To Increase Your Rental Value

COVID-19 has changed everything, and that includes the rental market. COVID-19 and lettings are, it turns out, not entirely compatible. With restrictions on evictions firmly in place, landlords – and their tenants – may well be reassessing how things are going to go once lockdown is ended and vaccinations are more widespread.

Landlords in particular may well want to know how they can increase the rental value of a property they know is going to be empty soon. Increase the income from one property by enough, and you will start to make up for any shortfall you might have suffered during the pandemic. Here are some ways it can be done.

covid-19 and lettings
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Outside Space

Lockdown has meant that we’ve all been indoors a lot more than usual, although in properties that have nice outdoor spaces that will have been at least bearable. With no end in sight to lockdown, as well as the fact that many people are now aware of how important their gardens actually are, you need to make the most of the outside space your property has.

Spend a little money and put in a large patio, replace the lawn, maybe even add some sliding doors to the back of the house so everything can be opened up.

Outdoors is something that might not have been crucial before, but it certainly is now once you look at the impact of COVID-19 and lettings.

Room For Home Working

Maybe everything will go back to ‘normal’ once COVID-19 is no longer such a threat. For the most part, that’s a good thing. However, the home working revolution has definitely begun, and it’s unlikely that this is going to change. Now that employers and business owners have realised that they can save money by not having any office space to pay for, and now that employees know that their job is perfectly doable from home, why would it go back to the way it was?

That means, of course, that renters are going to be searching for a home in which they can work. When there’s a spare bedroom, an actual study, a dining room they’re not going to use, perhaps even a conservatory, they’ll be happy. But if your property doesn’t have any of these things, you’ll need to try to make space. Can you split any rooms into two to create a study? Can you add an outside room or any kind of extension? You’ll be able to rent the place out for more, so you should be able to make your money back.   

covid-19 and lettings
Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash

Allow Pets

If you don’t allow pets in your property, you’re missing out on some fabulous tenants, and you’re limiting your market. To get the place rented, you might have to reduce your asking price or accept an offer.

If you allow pets, you’re effectively doubling your tenant pool and you can ask for more money because of it, despite the issues that have come about because of COVID-19 and lettings.

During lockdown, many people have decided that they need a little company, and a dog or cat – or whatever – has come into their lives. Now they’re looking for somewhere they and their pet can live, so be a little more flexible, and you’ll make a lot more money.

Renting With A Pet – More Want The Option

There has been a massive jump in enquiries for pet-friendly rental properties. Requests are currently up by fifty percent on usual levels. And it’s all down to the coronavirus pandemic. But is renting with a pet going to become any easier?

renting with a pet

Or rather, it’s lockdown that has caused the trend. People have been lonely, and have either got a pet or at least thought about getting one, the delay perhaps being that they cannot have one right now due to their landlord not allowing it. So, wanting a pet or having one already, and the larger numbers thinking in this way, means that the next property these tenants are going to be looking for should take pets. Hence the increase.

As lots of people, as well as their companies, have realised that they are able to work at home, and companies are actually considering ways for home working to be normalised, folks are actually reassessing if it’s feasible for them to get a pet. This means an increased need for pet-friendly rental properties. Landlords will discover in the coming weeks and months that they might well have to adjust and review their policies if they would like to let their property quickly, or even at all. Renting with a pet is becoming the new normal and landlords must be aware of this change.

Why Not Pets?

The worry for virtually all landlords is that pets result in much more daily wear and tear than individuals on their own. That said, folks with pets will generally remain in the exact same spot for more time, so they can help to reduce the danger of a landlord having to keep looking for new tenants. It might be a better option all round.

With regards to decorating, carpets are a lot more apt to show harm than a wooden floor. Laminate is actually cheaper to install and tougher to scratch, although a scratch on a hardwood floor is easier to repair.

renting with a pet

So the answer here is simple; don’t have carpeting, have hard flooring instead. If the tenant wants to add a rug for additional comfort, that’s their choice, but at least your carpets won’t be ruined by their pet, and you can let the property much more quickly.

Other adaptations to look at for those renting with a pet would be very simple modifications like a cat flap. Either install one yourself, or allow the tenants to if they want to. Plus, you may decide to upgrade your end of tenancy procedures around cleaning, for instance, and having an inventory done as well as a proper check-out will help immensely when it comes to determining if any damage has been done.

Remember To Advertise The Fact Of Renting With A Pet…

If you decide to allow pets, be sure you update listings right away to maximise the chance of you getting the right tenant. If you make sure to advertise the fact that you accept pets, you’ll certainly get a lot more interest, and certainly more than those who says no pets or don’t mention pets at all, forcing the potential tenants to enquire.

renting with a pet

The Tenancy Agreement

Landlords are within their rights to include things like an understanding in your agreement about trying to keep the property thoroughly clean, or perhaps covering the costs of a one off deep clean at the conclusion of the agreement. You should think about a larger deposit to cover any more potential damage, or perhaps increase the amount of interim inspections you have carried out.

Any stipulation surrounding renting with a pet have to be agreed by both parties at the start of the tenancy.

Coronavirus and the Letting Agent: What Happens Now?

It has been a long few weeks, but now, with the news that letting agents are able to show prospective tenants around properties once more (ever since 13th May 2020), it seems that the floodgates are opening and landlords who were unable to rent their properties out during the initial stage of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown are keen to get the process started and the rent coming in.

lockdown coronavirus inventory clerk

Yet care does need to be taken. Rushing at this point and not paying attention to the safety aspect of letting a property could do more harm than good. Yes, the economy will bounce back more quickly when the housing market starts to move again, but if attention is paid then lockdown could become more restrictive once more and all that hard work and patience will have been for nothing.

There is updated guidance on moving home, for example. In that document, it states that “the process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different, given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. This will include doing more of the process online, such as virtual initial viewings; vacating your current property whilst other people are shown around; and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in.”

But what about property inventories? Letting agents still need to engage an inventory clerk for the work to be carried out, and since one of the most important skills that an inventory clerk can have is to be observant and to look closely at each room in a property, this is not something that can really be done remotely. At least not in a satisfactory, high quality way.

The good news is that inventory clerks are masters at social distancing, and have been even before the coronavirus pandemic. With or without the threat of COVID-19, as an inventory clerk there is no need for others to be in the property at the same time as you; in fact, it’s far better when they aren’t there as the job can be done more speedily and efficiently.

covid-19 for inventory clerks

Ideally the property should be empty of not only people but of things too… so since there are no possessions within the house or flat, there is nothing for an inventory clerk to touch which someone else can pick up later, and this will also reduce the risk. Although, of course, an inventory clerk will need to open doors, windows, look in drawers, and more, as long as we wear gloves and use hand sanitiser, there really is very little risk. Plus, the house is likely to have been thoroughly cleaned before our arrival – thank you, wonderful end of tenancy cleaners – thus making the job an even safer one for everyone involved.

As for us here at Looksy Inventories, we are more than ready to get back into carrying out thorough, high quality inventory work during the second stage of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown period. With our gloves and masks and hand sanitiser at the ready, we can collect keys and drop them back off whilst still adhering to social distancing measures. Just get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can guarantee to keep within current guidelines and get the job done – and done well.

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