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Landlords beware: The biggest turn offs for renters

Some landlords sometimes experience a degree of puzzlement as to why they are struggling to find tenants for their property.

A recent survey has indicated some of the biggest problems in terms of potential renters’ perceptions when visiting a property. Some of these are perhaps self-evident but others may come as a slight surprise.

The house appearing to be dirty (49%)

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Litter lying around, un-emptied rubbish bins, stained sinks and taps, dirty light switches – they and other things like them can be a huge turn-off when potential tenants are visiting for an initial inspection.

Unpleasant odours (46%)

In fairness, this can be a tricky one. Not everyone has the same sense of smell and different things can irritate different people.

Even so, it is probably a sensible idea to work hard to try and eliminate smells originating from:

  • pets;
  • tobacco;
  • drains;

Damp (43%)

This problem can manifest itself in a number of different ways including peeling wallpaper, staining on the walls, patches on walls or floors, fungus and of course, musty smells.

All well-worth landlords dealing with ASAP!

Unloved garden (37%)

This is just a polite way of saying that if the garden looks like a tip, it may cause you real problems.

Don’t forget that a garden may be one of the first things that potential new tenants might see, perhaps even while passing on a drive-by inspection. You might be losing potential tenants you didn’t even realise where there!

Poor decorative order (35%)

This category really covers two slightly different things:

  • décor that, whatever style it might be, is in poor condition;
  • décor that may not actually be in bad condition but which is decades out of date and looking very tired.

It’s worth mentioning that both internal and external décor can be a consideration here. For example, windows that are rotting are not likely to communicate the best message to your prospective new tenants.

In passing, remember that in terms of certain basic care and maintenance issues, your landlord insurance policy may also place certain obligations upon you in terms of keeping everything in good condition. The same might be true for aspects of your legal obligations.

Specific interior issues

The above problems may be an issue for both interior and exterior areas of your property. The survey though also highlights some other off-putting things from a tenants’ perspective and these are more typically associated with the insides of properties:

  • antiquated kitchens. About 48% of people suggested this might be a show stopper for them in terms of renting a property. If your kitchen currently is what might be termed “museum quality”, it might be time to do something about it;
  • old-fashioned bathrooms – 47%. It’s worth noting here that there’s probably a big difference between a designer “Victorian” bathroom and one that has simply been left untouched since the 1960s;
  • antiquated bedrooms – 28%. The same comments as above typically apply;
  • brightly coloured walls – 27%. This is a slightly surprising result and one that may warrant further investigation. It perhaps suggests the use of subtle neutral colours rather than simply painting walls brilliant electric white;
  • controversial carpets – 26%. Some people are put off by carpets that are perhaps full of fluorescent zig-zags and geometric designs that scream “1960s/1970s” but without having the quality and charm to classify as “retro”! Once again, subtle neutral colours here are perhaps best.

These are a few points worth keeping in mind if you are one of those landlords wondering why it is proving difficult to let your property.

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