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Harmonious relationship with landlords means renters will tend to stay in the property

Many tenants part ways with their landlords over rents and a lack of value in their accommodation.

These reasons to move are followed by family structure changes and poor relationships with neighbours or landlords, says a new Just Property survey which goes beyond just the agency’s existing client base.

More than 2600 responses were received, providing “invaluable” insight for landlords wanting to retain or attract great tenants, says Just Property chief executive Paul Stevens.

Of those surveyed, 40.8% had moved twice or more in the past three years and 37.3% had moved in the last year.

“Better accommodation” was the most frequent reason given for moving (44.7%), followed by “rent was too expensive” (32.4%). Most scored “value for money” of their current rent a median 3, with the next highest score given being a 5 (with 1 being not satisfied, and 5 being extremely satisfied).

“Change in family size” was given as motivation to move by 25.4%, with “better security” at 29.6%.

Tenants’ financial situation is not something landlords can control but there are other factors influencing why tenants move which they can manage, Stevens says. While “poor neighbour relations” compelled only 8.8% of tenants to move, “poor landlord relations” were cited by 21.8%, and “poor service from managing agent” was given as a reason by 13%.

When asked to rate the importance of various factors, “safety and security” came out tops, followed by “neighbourhood”, “move-in ready” and “proximity to schools and/or work”.

According to respondents, queries were most frequently made directly with landlords (64.1%). Only 21.5% direct their queries to agents, with 14.4% dealing with both their agent and landlord.

When asked to rate their relationship with their agents, 17% of respondents chose “excellent”.

But when asked to rate their relationship with their landlords, less than 30% chose “excellent”.

These figures present a lesson for managing agents and landlords alike as better relations lead to better tenant retention.

“The takeouts from these results should give pause for thought. Clearly, for this cohort, value and service are important,” Stevens says.

“The highest expectation of landlords and agents was that repairs and maintenance be seen to be timeously done (88.7%); “advance warning of contractors or visits, for example” was the second-most important expectation, and 67% of respondents wanted regular communication.

“Taking these answers into account, our tenants are clearly showing us where their landlords and agents have let them down.”

Although it can be onerous for a landlord, especially one with multiple tenants, to attend to repairs and maintenance, he says experience shows that if tenants feel that their needs aren’t being expeditiously met, they are going to be unhappy and they will move.

“No landlord wants to lose a good tenant and then have to spend time and resources to find and vet a new one. All this can be avoided if landlords choose a good letting agent who will attend to all issues timeously, leveraging competent portfolio managers, partnering with trusted, competent suppliers and being disciplined about using good property management systems.”

Stevens believes the results of the survey should serve as a strong call to action for the industry to provide better service to both landlords and tenants.

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