The worldwide pandemic affected many industries in and each one in different ways. Possibly, the business plan you used to have is not relevant anymore, right? After facing this unique global scenario, the challenge now is adjusting so you can make the most of the next 12 months. This is the case for any landlord as well, given the unique tenancy laws in place during an emergency period that COVID-19 created.
So, what do you need to do? For some landlords, you may not realise the importance some tasks hold. For example, building inspections, using a local commercial plumbing service more often or vetting tenants now have more impact on your long-term success than ever before. Others may be planning a new investment and this time around the rules of the property and landlord game are different.
Where should you start? Stop the insecurity and use these tips to create the right business plan for the coming year.
Keep Your Side Clean
Some tenants will always look for opportunities to take chances but now it’s difficult to force someone to pay or move out. This makes it more important than ever to ensure you keep to your contract’s obligations. Don’t give anyone unnecessary reason to hold back their payments, or you’ll face even more financial strain.
From employing electricians and commercial plumbing services to upgrading the premises with a patio or new fittings, don’t cut corners. You need to invest in the best, so you know things won’t go wrong. This means fewer problems on site and no one can complain about your willingness to deliver quality building maintenance.
Also, with quality installations and preventative maintenance, you prevent unnecessary repair costs in the long run. So, do a thorough audit of your property and rather take out the money now to make some improvements than facing complaints or bigger problems later.
Become More Flexible
Being unwavering in your contract timelines was the key to success in the past. In most cases, requesting a long-term contract was the norm and most tenants were happy to sign that agreement. But now, if you’re unwavering in your expectations of new renters, it could do more harm than good.
With many companies closing, fewer workers have peace of mind that they’ll have the same job six or 12 months from now. This makes them feel more comfortable making short term plans. A long-term lease may scare off many potential renters. Become flexible and offer short term leases, so you have a bigger chance of securing new tenants.
Pick the Right Investment
If you’re privileged enough to start a new investment, consider a new strategy of finding the perfect property to buy.
Location Matters More than Ever
18 months ago, your best option was renting out apartments in larger cities. That’s where people flocked to for better job opportunities and people loved the buzz of the busy towns. But now, it’s often the smaller towns and rural areas that attract people:
- Workers enjoy the remote working setup which boomed because of COVID-19 lockdown rules. People realise they can work in less populated areas and still have their jobs.
- For many, smaller towns offer a better quality of life.
- People don’t want to go to crowded city centres for shopping anymore. Living in less populated areas lowers the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus.
So, focusing your property search on smaller towns or areas with small populations could be smart.
Offer Rooms Instead of Apartments
To protect your own interests, also look for a different kind of property than the fancy apartments you used to buy. When you rent out rooms instead of a larger apartment, you can set up contracts with multiple people, instead of only one person or family. If someone should face financial trouble and is unable to pay, you can still draw income from the other tenants. This lowers the risk of losing an entire revenue stream.
Rethink Your Ideal Tenant
When you’re looking for new tenants, you can still be picky about who you sign contracts with. But you may need to revisit your original guidelines and strategies.
More people have pets now. Also, the isolation of lockdowns prompted many to take pet ownership more seriously and they won’t easily let go of a dog or cat just to get your apartment. Rather allow pets, or you’ll struggle to find people to fill the rooms.
You also need to make some hard decisions in order to protect your long-term interests. Take your time to pick your tenants, looking for individuals who work in industries less hit by the pandemic. With a smaller chance of them losing their jobs, this can ensure a steadier stream of income for you.
The pandemic taught many people to rethink how they do business. As a landlord, will you continue with the status quo, or become one who is smart enough to survive and even thrive in these difficult times?