How To Find New Tenants For Your Rental Property

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Knowing how to find good tenants is one of the most critical aspects of a successful rental property investment, but it’s also one of the hardest. A responsible tenant who pays rent on time, takes care of the property, and follows the lease terms can significantly contribute to the profitability and hassle-free management of your investment. 

On the other hand, a problematic tenant can quickly turn a promising venture into a nightmare, resulting in costly repairs, legal battles, and prolonged vacant periods. In this guide, we’ll provide a few tips and techniques to help landlords find tenants for their HMO property portfolio, from knowing when and how to market the property to features tenants are looking for.

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WHERE TO FIND TENANTS IN THE UK?

When looking for tenants in the UK, landlords and property managers have several options to consider. One of the most effective methods is advertising the rental listing on popular online portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. These websites receive millions of visits from prospective renters each month, making them a prime source for finding tenants. 

Utilising the services of a reputable letting agent is another option — they have access to a database of potential tenants and can handle the marketing and screening process. Networking within local communities to advertise via word of mouth or putting up “To Let” signs can also yield quality tenant leads. Ultimately, a multi-pronged approach that combines various marketing channels is often the most effective way to find suitable tenants quickly and efficiently in the UK rental market.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FIND TENANTS?

The time it takes to find tenants for a rental property can vary significantly depending on several factors, taking anywhere from a few days to several months. The location of the property, the rental market conditions, the quality and condition of the unit, the price of the rent, and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts all play a crucial role in determining the time frame.

In a thriving rental market with high demand and low vacancy rates, well-maintained and reasonably priced units can be rented out within a week or two, especially if the property is advertised through multiple channels. However, in slower markets or during off-peak seasons, it may take several weeks or even months to find suitable tenants, even for desirable properties. Effective marketing strategies, including high-quality listings, professional photography and a strong online presence, can all help attract more potential renters and expedite the process.

SHOW OFF YOUR HMO’S BEST FEATURES

The first step in knowing how to find and keep quality tenants is to ensure you’re providing them with a property that far exceeds what they can find elsewhere. If you’ve invested time in upgrading and renovating your HMO to make it renter friendly, now’s the time to show off your hard work and make sure prospective tenants can see what sets your property apart.

Make sure you’re including your property’s selling points in the photos and description, but also highlight them when you’re showing tenants round at viewings too. You want your tenants to establish an emotional connection to the property quickly; they need to be able to see themselves living there, so show them what makes your HMO special. 

From spacious lounge-diners and well-equipped modern kitchens, to spectacular views or beautiful gardens with swimming pools that provide a place for tenants to unwind or exercise, these features are USPs that shouldn’t be overlooked.

MARKET YOUR PROPERTY AS PET-FRIENDLY

The PDSA reports that over half of UK adults have a pet, with cats, dogs and even rabbits making up a substantial portion. This translates to a sizable pool of potential tenants for your property. 

Asking renters to part with their cherished companions isn’t practical and could result in your property sitting empty while potential tenants look elsewhere for a pet-friendly home, which is why it’s worth contemplating the pet-friendliness of your rental.

In addition to allowing pets in the property for tenants prepared to pay a pet deposit, you can also make changes to the home itself to make it more suitable for furry friends. Landscaping the garden with easy-to-maintain materials like stone swimming pool coping tiles that will stand up to sharp claws, making sure fences are pet-proof for security, and adding durable furnishings indoors to protect against damage will make your HMO stand out.

GET YOUR TIMINGS RIGHT

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to finding a home, so if your property is empty or you know it will be soon, be prepared to take action swiftly. You don’t want to leave the property empty for too long, but you also need to give people time to move out and get their affairs in order if they’re still in the property.

Generally speaking, 4-6 weeks before the new tenants can move in is the best time to start advertising. This gives you time to get the property up to the right standard, find new tenants and sort references and deposits. It’s also plenty of time to ensure your advert is seen by prospective tenants who are looking to move in the near future.

In areas where homes tend to get snapped up quickly, such as London or Manchester, you may be able to advertise closer to the move-in date. But give yourself plenty of time and consider your target demographic in terms of how much time they’ll need. Students, for example, need to sort their accommodation months ahead of time.

USE HIGH-QUALITY PHOTOS

Whether your new tenants are local or not, in the early stages of their search they will be relying on online listings to narrow down potential properties. So, high-quality photos and descriptive listings are essential to help them make a positive first impression of your HMO. Staging the property for photos can be a great way of giving potential new residents an idea of what their new home could look like, and helps to highlight any unique features of the property.

When you post your advert on portal websites, it immediately gains the top spot in the ‘recently posted’ section. It will also get distributed via email to prospective tenants actively seeking accommodations. This means that a significant number of people searching for properties with similar specifications in your area will encounter your listing almost immediately once it’s uploaded.

But, if your listing features sub-par photos or lacks essential information in the description, undoing the damage later could prove difficult. Potential tenants might have already dismissed your property and moved on, relegating it from the website’s front page, so always ensure that a listing is published with the best possible images.

HOW HARD IS IT TO FIND TENANTS FOR RENTAL PROPERTIES?

While finding tenants for a rental property can be challenging, the difficulty varies depending on several factors. The first is location – properties in high-demand areas will be secured faster than those in remote areas. Naturally, the condition of the property, the rental price and market conditions will also play a role. And as we’ve seen in this guide, your marketing efforts and the way (and when) you list your property will also impact how quickly you secure a good quality tenant.

But while it can be a challenge to find tenants, knowing how to market your property and the features your tenants will be searching for can make all the difference to ensuring your HMO is always rented to reliable, long-term tenants. Additionally, being open to making your property more appealing by adding in-demand features or upgrading existing ones can give you a competitive edge in the rental market.

HOW TO KEEP QUALITY CLIENTS

Keeping quality, long-term tenants is essential for a successful rental property business. The key is to provide a well-maintained, desirable living space and excellent customer service. Make sure that you address any repair requests promptly and professionally, and stay responsive to your tenants’ needs and concerns. Landlords should offer reasonable rent increases to incentivise good tenants to renew their leases or consider allowing longer lease terms for proven reliable tenants. 

Another way to ensure long-term relationships with tenants is to stay up-to-date on market rates to ensure you’re pricing your units competitively. Similarly, conduct thorough tenant screening and background checks in the early stages to find responsible, qualified renters who will take care of the property. Lastly, landlords need to ensure they’re staying compliant with all property laws and regulations. Following these practices will help retain quality tenants who take good care of your property long-term. 

For further assistance with your HMO project, schedule a complimentary discovery call; we’ll be happy to help you. Alternatively, access our guide on leading strategies to maximise your HMO profits and discover advanced, proven tactics for attracting and keeping reliable, long-term tenants to elevate your rental business.

Picture of Giovanni Patania

Giovanni Patania

(Architect Director, Co-Founder)

Giovanni Patania is the Lead Architect and Co-Founder at HMO Architect and Windsor Patania Architects.

Originally from Siena, Italy, Giovanni worked as a Project Lead Architect at Foster+ Partners, designing Apple stores across the world,

An HMO Investor himself, Giovanni understands property thoroughly, both from an investor's perspective and technically, as an Architect.

With over 15 years of HMO development experience, working on over 150+ HMOs and a 95% Planning and Building Regulation success rate, Giovanni has the expertise and credentials to help you on your HMO journey."

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