LHA Top Tips for landlords. Article 3 in a series of 8
The longer you keep a tenant the less paperwork and voids you will experience. Start by finding a tenant you feel confident is right for your property and your management strategy and start as you mean to continue.
- Understand what LHA rate your property is entitled to. The more bedrooms you have the more rent you can charge. Visit DirectGov and search LHA rates. To maximise your investment it is imperative to have this knowledge when advertising for your tenant.
- Be aware that if you rent to a single person with children they will be entitled to the 2 or 3 bedroom rate if they are receiving the child benefit and this is most often the mother. This is handy to know when considering single fathers. Unfortunately they will not get the higher rates and will only be entitled to the single or even shared room rate. The shared room rate is currently set at 35, so any single person 34 and under will likely only receive housing benefit if living in shared housing.
- Not all LHA tenants have the internet, so advertising on property portals although a good start is not the only way to attract them. Put linage in the local free paper to always say “DSS or LHA accepted or welcome”. Advertise no admin fee or low bond as an incentive.
- Speak to the local council’s Housing Solutions team. Show that you want to work with them to offer good quality housing and that you are a professional landlord who understands the needs of the tenant. React quickly to requests for viewings and take this as an opportunity to build your relationship with the housing team.
- Speak to neighbours of the property you are renting. Ask if they have friends or family that may want the property. Ensure they know you are concerned for their enjoyment of the area and that you are happy for them to contact you with any concerns about your property.
- Put a simple poster in the property window outlining the main information about the tenancy and highlight items such as no admin fee, help with claim forms etc.
- Put up posters in local shops – it’s surprising how many people are looking for property. It’s all about building relationships with the community & being accepted.
- If you are considering offering housing to hard to reach groups find out if there are any charities in the area – women’s refuge, homeless shelters, ex-offender placement. Often these organisations will have housing specialists who will support your tenant and have a more thorough knowledge of making benefit claims. This will save you a lot of time but be sure to also check first with your lenders and insurers.
- When you arrange viewings always follow up with a phone call. Once you have prospective applicants arrange to meet them at their current residence. This will give you a good idea of how well they look after their home inside and out and also you can ask who will be living with them.
- Ask what notice they have to give their current landlord and state that you will help them apply for a Housing Benefit overlap if relevant. This will show a good tenant that you understand their needs and want to help.
Read Part One and Two of The LHA Expert
Introducing The LHA Expert for Landlords – @TheLHAexpert
Vital Contacts for LHA Landlords