Leading London lettings specialists E J Harris have reviewed all their client-tenant paperwork for the last three years and analysed the top five likes and dislikes that tenants and landlords across Central London have about each other.
The survey also analysed the key things that each side feel make a “perfect tenant” and a “perfect landlord” and the key addresses in London where there are harmonious relations between landlords and tenants and locations where there are “friction hotspots”: lots of complaints by both parties.
The E J Harris research provides a unique insight into landlord and tenants relationships across London. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top things that tenants hate about landlords are those who undertake frequent rent increases and don’t fix broken appliances on time. Landlords dislike tenants who are late in paying their rent and are untidy. The “perfect tenant” is one who is high calibre (i.e. from a nice background) and rents a property for many years. The “perfect landlord” is one who doesn’t pester the tenant and fixes items in the property quickly. The most harmonious locations for good landlord-tenants relationships are the posh addresses within Mayfair and Belgravia, whilst the key hotspots for friction and complaints are the streets of Streatham and West Ham.
E J Harris highlight that the key to hassle-free lettings is to maintain a good working relationship between landlord and tenant. Most of the conflicts between the leasing parties can be traced to a breakdown in communication. Establishing a fair and clear rental agreement is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship and most of the rental disputes can be avoided if both parties lay out their expectations explicitly.
In rank order out of the top five most common tenant complaints, the top thing that tenants dislike about a landlord is rent increases (100 percent of tenants who complain about their landlord, mention this matter); the next is not fixing things in a timely manner (mentioned in 70 percent of complaints); then visiting a property unannounced (50 percent of complaints); the poor performance of landlord’s maintenance men (30 percent) and messy communal areas (20 percent).
In rank order out the top five most common landlord complaints, the top thing that landlords dislike about a tenant is not paying the rent on time (100 percent of landlords who complain about a tenant, mention this matter); the next is a untidy/messy tenant (60 percent of complaints); third is a tenant who damages items in a property (40 percent); fourth is bad hygiene (30 percent) and finally a tenant who breaks a contract (30 percent).
E J Harris found that the five key characteristics that landlords feel make the “perfect tenant” are high calibre people (i.e. from a nice background), longevity, the amount of rent they are prepared to offer, tenants that respect a property as if it were their own and clean and tidy disposition. Likewise, the five key characteristics that tenants feel make the “perfect landlord” are landlords who leave the tenants alone, fixes things quickly, keeps to a contract, is fair and is pleasant to deal with.
The top five most “harmonious” addresses in London, where there are the fewest number of complaints from either tenants or landlords are: Mayfair, Belgravia, Chiswick, Richmond and Marylebone. E J Harris highlight that they are not surprised by these findings since all are prosperous locations, attracting affluent landlords and tenants. Clearly, “money brings harmony”, since landlords in these locations have the funds to provide homes of a high specification and quality, and tenants have the funds to pay rents up front or on time and pay for any damages or problems.
In contrast, the five friction hotspots, where tenant and landlord complaints can frequently arise, are: Streatham, West Ham, Camden, Vauxhall and Peckham. E J Harris highlight that these are less affluent locations where some landlords have less funds to invest in and repair their properties and some tenants can have problems paying rents. All situations which lead to complaints and conflicts between the two parties.
E J Harris highlight that finding the right tenant is vital to achieve a safe, healthy and long-term let. It is vital that landlords properly vet prospective tenants and ensure they are credit-worthy in order to avoid potential economic and legal conflicts. The research found that 90 percent of landlords use a reference or credit search package as their usual method of vetting prospective tenants. Face-to-face meetings with tenants have a lasting impact on landlords’ decisions, with 100 percent of landlords allowing tenants to move into their property after just one face-to-face meeting.
Identifying the tenant profile that suits the property best and determining the needs and requirements of the prospective tenants is a big component of successful rental agreements. The research found that tenants prioritise location (within a five-minute walk of public transport and within easy access of work/university and local amenities), size and overall presentation of the property.
E J Harris reveal that landlords have identified the ideal tenant profile as a middle aged couple looking for a long-term rental tenancy. The research revealed that 80 percent of tenants opt for longer-term security with just a 20 percent of tenants looking for short-term flexible forms of housing.
The research found that tenants’ requirements vary according to age groups. Those under 24 prioritise the size of bedrooms whereas tenants over 30 prefer properties with gardens and outside space and tenants aged between 40 and 50 look for homes with big entertainment space.
Elizabeth Harris, Managing Director of E J Harris said:
“Finding the ideal tenant who will look after the property is a valuable asset in a competitive rental market. From a landlord’s perspective, the ideal tenant would be of a good calibre and would typically offer a generous sum of rent as well as longevity. The perfect tenant would also take pride in the property and keep it clean and tidy.”
Elizabeth Harris continued:
“Landlords are likely to retain the best tenants by establishing a good rapport with tenants and maintaining a healthy and regular communication as well as maintaining the property in the best possible condition. Tenants would define the perfect landlord as someone who would behave fairly and be pleasant to deal with. He would be expected to fix things in a timely manner, to renew contracts effortlessly and to respect their privacy.”