To make your rental properties as appealing as possible, it helps if they include the features that are most in-demand from tenants.
But what are some of these renter must-haves? Below, using our experience of operating in North London, East London, Essex and Hertfordshire, we take a closer look.
London is home to many young professional and student tenants – far more than anywhere else in the country, in fact – and most of these are likely to see fast broadband speeds and a solid internet connection as a necessity rather than a luxury.
For all demographics, in fact, it will be a major must-have. There has been a boom in the number of people working from home in recent years, and whether this is a freelance designer/journalist or a person running their own small business, being connected to the world with the minimum of fuss will be a vital consideration.
Good transport links
Many Londoners, particularly those living just outside of the capital’s central areas, will be commuting into the city for work. Tenants make up a big part of London’s commuting workforce and will require fast, reliable transport links to get them to their place of employment.
Fortunately, most of London is well-served when it comes to public transport – with buses, National Rail, Overground and Tube services all on offer. Coming soon, too, is Crossrail 1 (or the Elizabeth Line), which is expected to further improve the capital’s already extensive rail network.
North and East London are especially well blessed when it comes to transport links to ferry tenants from one place to another. The Tottenham area, for example, is home to two Tube stations (Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale, both Victoria Line) and six National Rail station, which allow you to reach Oxford Circus and Liverpool Street in just 15 minutes. It’s also a location that has a number of bus routes running through it.
Walthamstow, meanwhile, is a key commuter hub thanks to its status as the eastern terminus of the Victoria Line, offering a village-like atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle but with fast transport links to more central locations. You can be at Victoria in around 23 minutes, Brixton in just 32 minutes and King’s Cross & St Pancras International in a quarter of an hour.
It’s no coincidence, either, that trendy tenant hotspots such as Hackney (Overground, National Rail, buses) and Bethnal Green (Central Line, Greater Anglia, buses) have very strong transport links. The two often go hand-in-hand, with tenants keen to find areas that offer the dream combo of excellent transport links and cheaper rents than more central parts of the capital.
Places to escape the chaotic nature of modern life is likely to be another must-have for many tenants, with local green space often cited as a key selling point for those renting a home. Luckily, London is blessed in this regard, with an abundance of parks, commons, heathland, playing fields and wooded areas for people to use to switch off and recharge their batteries.
These can be places for running, walking, cycling, while a good selection of green space is also crucial for sports teams needing a venue to stage various matches.
In the same way as transport links, your rental home in London should never be far from good green space, so you have a ready-made part of your sales pitch right there and then.
A well-maintained home
An obvious one, yes, but it’s something landlords should never be complacent about. Tenants will be seeking an attractive, good-quality rental home, and if your property doesn’t fit these criteria you may find you struggle to occupy it with tenants. An empty home is one that is losing you money, so it’s vital you do all you can to swerve any void periods by offering up a home that wows prospective tenants rather than turning them away.
London has a higher proportion of furnished rental homes than other cities – especially when it comes to flats – but even if you don’t choose to a let a furnished property, tenants will probably expect white goods (fridge, washing machine, tumble dryer, etc.) to be in place when they move in.
If your home has a standout feature, such as a newly refurbished kitchen, a stylish en suite or a spacious garden, don’t be afraid to point this out to tenants when they come to view your property.
People like to have everything they need on their doorstep, so if you can offer close proximity to a shopping centre or supermarket – or a row or arcade of shops – tenants should be kept happy. Being close to local banks and post offices is less crucial in this digital age, and many people do their food and clothes shopping online too, but access to a local off license or corner shop will be welcomed when those essentials (bread, milk, toothpaste, etc) are required.
Things to do
Tenants, particularly younger tenants, like to live in buzzing areas where there is plenty going on of an evening or weekend. They will want easy access to restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, theatres, cinemas and leisure venues. Increasingly, too, farmers’ markets, street food stalls, brunch venues and pop-up bars or restaurants are popular places for people to head to when Saturday calls.
Again, London scores very highly on this metric. It’s a city where there is always something to do, see or eat. In the areas where we operate, there are a large range of restaurants and cafes – from hip vegan eateries to authentic Caribbean establishments – as well as museums, art galleries, music venues, independent shops, quirky cinemas and lively theatres.
If you’re targeting tenants who rank ‘things to do’ as one of their must-haves, London will help you to more than provide the goods.
As you’d expect, none of this is set in stone or universal. Tenants have very individual needs and different wants and desires, but there are a number of broad must-haves which are likely to come up again and again. Your rental home doesn’t need to be the ideal home that provides absolutely everything – no property is perfect, after all – but if you can provide fast internet, strong transport links and a clean, well-maintained home, your chances of letting with ease should be much greater.
For more info about getting your home let in North and East London, contact your local Kings Group branch today.
To see how much your home could be worth on the current market, you can request a free instant online valuation.