Getting tenants to pay more than average

Estate agents and property managers can help you determine rentals. They have a fairly accurate idea of what other landlords are charging. However, these figures don’t have to dictate what you charge. Charge what your property’s worth and that includes the value of renting from you instead of someone else.

Sell yourself to the tenant. Explain why they’re better off renting from you.

  1. What makes your property worth more than others? You do! It all goes back to respect and upkeep. If you are better than the average landlord your property is worth more in which case you should be paid more.
  2. When they say your price is too high, tell them why your property rents for more. Sell yourself to them, not by bad mouthing other landlords, but by emphasizing positive expectations they in fact get from you because it’s policy:

    • Choice in the length of their lease (six months? one year?) Yes, it impacts on their monthly rental rate, but not to same degree as losing an entire deposit. Let’s say your flat rents for R4000 per month with a one year lease as well as a one month deposit. A six month lease increases it by R150 per month and if left in good condition they get the entire R4150 deposit back and only spend R900 more.
    • Based on experience, timely repairs can be a big issue with some tenants. Have and explain your ‘Landlord’s Failure to Perform Policy’. If you fail to address needed repairs in a timely manner, you discount their rent. Notice I said address, not repair. Explain this too. Your rent is higher because you get the plumber, electrician, roofer, etc. to check the problem out within 24 hours and usually fix it in 48 hours or less. If something like back ordering a part applies, the tenant is given a ‘repaired by’ date and if you don’t meet this, their next month’s rent is discounted by X amount which you specify. I have no qualms about admitting this level of maintenance costs me more and that’s why my rents are higher. Tenants who’ve dealt with neglectful landlords find it well worth a few additional Rands a month.
    • Potential tenants whose circumstances make them ‘long term’ renters are looking for landlords who perform regular periodic maintenance updates. Retirees and singles who don’t want to move in a year or two may be more than willing to shell out a few Rands more to avoid deteriorating surroundings.
    • Don’t ignore the condition of the grounds, exterior building and general pet or child control issues. Go over your list of regulations, telling potential tenants they are all enforceable (but only if they are) and must be respected by you, them and their neighbours.
People rent for a variety of reasons. A large majority simply can’t afford to own their own home. Some could handle the monthly payments, but poor credit is a problem. There are about as many reasons for renting as there are folks who rent:

  • They might have only just moved to the area.
  • They’re only going to be in the area for a year or less.
  • They’ve sold their old house and the new one’s not finished yet.
  • Recent separation or divorce.
  • Getting married soon.
  • Lost their roommate and need a cheaper place.
  • Got a roommate and can afford nicer place.
  • Retired, but not ready for a rest home.
  • Recently widowed.
  • Single and plan to stay that way.

The bottom line is people’s lives and circumstances change. You keep tenants and you lose tenants. But if you’re a good landlord, if you respect your tenants and treat them fairly, they’ll stay with you as long as they can. If you don’t, they’re out of there the first chance they get. Conversely, if they disagree with you about rent or any matters determined by you, the tenant/landlord relationship is probably damaged beyond repair and its best if they ‘move on’

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