Most common tenant queries revealed: How to best prepare as a letting agent

by Gary Whittaker

With more than five million homes across the UK property market now in the private rented sector, it stands to reason that letting agents have more to deal with than ever before. Serving as the main point of contact for both landlords and their tenants, agents have to make sure they are facilitating a strong relationship, and even acting as peacekeepers between the two parties. 

This role is most prominent when it comes to dealing with tenant queries. Tenants will be in touch about a wealth of different things, be it repairs, permissions or just general questions, and it's important that these are all dealt with in the right way. 

Research from lighting firm Lightbulbs Direct recently highlighted the most common reasons for tenants contacting landlords and agents, and here, we take a look at these and discuss the best way to deal with them to maintain strong relationships. 

Broken windows

According to the study, the single most common reason for tenants getting in touch with letting agents is, perhaps surprisingly, when they need a window repaired in their property. Damaged windows can include those where the glass is broken, where the window doesn't open or when condensation gathers between the panes. 

Of course, dealing with window problems is not something that's easy to do, and not a job that everyone can carry out. To keep relations with tenants favourable, however, it pays for agents to have someone available who can deal with their problem as soon as possible. An agreement with a glazier in the local area can be a good idea for agents to ensure they always have someone they can call out at short notice, so renters don't feel like they're being neglected. 

Permission to decorate

One of the biggest sticking points in any tenant-landlord relationship is when it comes to permission surrounding decorating the property. In many cases, landlords don't want tenants changing too much, while tenants themselves often want to be able to make the home feel a bit more personal. However, it's also one of the most common reasons for contact between the parties, with 49 per cent of tenants saying they have been in touch for consent. 

To facilitate a smooth relationship when such requests come in, it can be a good idea for letting agents to ask landlords ahead of time what they would be happy with the tenant changing. That way, when a tenant does make a request, the agent can advise them on the landlord's thoughts straight away without having to wait to hear back. This can also be the starting point for a negotiation between the tenant and landlord to help make sure everyone is happy. 

Broken appliances

Things break in any property, it's just one of those things that has to be dealt with as a letting agent. With so many appliances provided in any property, it's inevitable that from time to time something will go wrong. Whether it's the fridge, oven, washing machine or any other appliance, 46 per cent of tenants said they had contacted a landlord or agent with a complaint about a broken appliance at some point. This is an area where there's a possibility of friction between the parties, so it's important as an agent that you get things fixed as soon as possible. 

To facilitate a fast moving process for repairs, it can be a good idea to have a contractor available who you can turn to. Even if they are a general repair worker and cannot necessarily fix things on a first visit, the fact that you can have someone turn up and get the ball rolling can be a good way to keep tenants happy and ensure a good relationship is maintained. 

When it comes to any problem that tenants need to have addressed, no matter how big or small, the key is communication. Getting back to a tenant as soon as you can is vital to making sure they feel valued and know that someone cares about their issues. 

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12-July-17Property Management