06 July 2018 | Harriet Garner
The relationship between letting agent and renters has long been characterised as difficult. With the media reporting on nightmare landlord and tenant stories in equal measure, it can, on some occasions, feel like they are purposefully being pitted against one another.
In the changing rental landscape, building relationships with renters that are based on mutual respect, understanding and trust is critically important to increasing the value of your service and securing your position as a business of the future.
No longer is renting seen as a means to a property-owning end. For many, renting is likely to be the future of their housing aspirations and with that comes a necessity for more open and transparent relationships between rented accommodation provider and renter.
With changes to legislation, rented accommodation providers need to be looking to delivering higher levels of service in order to secure renter retention as well as sentiment towards their business and properties.
Rooms with a view
As Laura Crawford, founder of Bluestone Relocations points out, ‘When I first started out renting rooms, I was committed to delivering quality rooms for anyone who rented from me. I was astonished when I started out when I found that people who came to view the spaces were genuinely surprised by the fact that the room advertised actually looked like the photo.’
‘The goal-posts have moved since then, and because there are more rooms on the market, I’m constantly on the lookout for how I can differentiate my propertiers from other providers’
For Bluestone renter Millie who moved from New Zealand in late 2016, her renting journey began on the wrong foot, ‘When I first moved to London with my friend, we had no idea what we were doing when it came to rent and ended up settling in a place that wasn’t very well located and on reflection, had an extortionate price tag.’
‘When we found Bluestone’s property, we were really pleased. It was a shared house, with two decent rooms in a good location with a good price. When it comes to renting in London, you can’t really ask for more.’
Bluestone is not only concerned with how to differentiate itself at the outset but also on making sure that service levels remain high throughout the duration of the tenancy. As Laura explains, ‘We do think carefully about housemate compatibility. We obviously want our renters to have the best experience, but also from our perspective investing that little bit of time in making sure a renter is the right fit can save us a lot of time, money and resource in the long-run.’
The long-term approach
Getting along with the people you rent with, especially if they’re strangers, is vital for a mutually stress-free tenancy.
‘I hated living in London when I first arrived,’ explains Millie, ‘feeling so far from home and not knowing anyone was a real struggle for me. Even though I moved over with a friend our first rental property didn’t help things along. It was so far away from everything we didn’t really feel like we were a part of anything’.
Laying roots is a very important part of forming an attachment with a home. As Laura can empathise with ‘When I first moved to London I was in a flat-share. I barely knew anyone but through my rental property I ended up making lifelong friends. I got married recently, and two of the people I met were bridesmaid and groomsmen!’
‘From the moment we moved into our Bluestone flat-share, we immediately got on with our housemates. It was such a great change from the place we’d been renting before and certainly helped with my homesickness. We now all hang out together’, explains Millie
Commitment to a quality service is the surest way to secure retention of good and reliable renters. Not only can providers be confident that rent will be paid on time and the property well looked after, but also when renters do eventually leave, providers can be sure of a good service review.
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