We’ve all heard the horror stories about bad tenants and equally bad landlords, but positive stories between those who rent and those who own are rarely discussed.
In a bid to smooth things over, some landlords are going above and beyond to keep good tenants.
According to recent statistics, there are now more than 2.6 million households in Australia that rent. TLH Real Estate director Tara Hore says bad relationships make for just a small number.
“If I think about the hoarders or the tenants that trash properties or the owners that are negligent in their duties, they are less than 10 per cent,” says Hore. “There is a big perception that owners are horrendous and tenants are disrespectful. It’s just not true.”
To ensure that their property is kept in good condition, some landlords are choosing to use rental incentives to build rapport with their tenants.
Therese Jackson leases three properties in Victoria and says rental incentives are a “no brainer” in order to break down the barriers and stereotypes between both parties.
“We look after our tenants,” says Jackson. “They keep the house clean and tidy and look after the backyard. Now and then they ask for something like a load of mulch to be delivered, and I would just put it on my card and get it dumped in the driveway.
“We would then ring up the local steakhouse and put an $80 tab on for them to go to dinner. All you have to do is search the price of a landscaper to see the benefit in that,” Jackson says.
While both Hore and Jackson were hesitant to refer to the relationship as transactional, there are benefits for owners who help out their tenants.
“An owner capitalises on their return on investment the longer a tenant is there. And that’s built on good relations,” says Hore.
Jackson agrees. “I asked my good, long-term tenants if they had something on their wish list to make the place more comfortable. They asked me for heavier drapes in the bedroom because it got hot. This was a win for the tenants and a tax-claimable expense for me.”
Senior property manager at TLH Real Estate, Zoe Gilbert says that in her experience an act of goodwill can make all the difference and is much preferred to a meaningless bottle of wine.
Gilbert, Hore and Jackson have experienced all ranges of landlord to tenant gift-giving, but all maintain that incentives for renters are on the rise and a good idea for landlords to get on board with.
However, there is a question as to whether landlords owe tenants anything and if the relationship should be nothing more than a business transaction. On this point, Hore disagrees.
“I would refute that the relationship is strictly business … 70 per cent of our owners have the attitude of ‘I want good tenants, and I’ll reward good tenants if they look after my property’.”
“It’s a fairly healthy relationship, we try and encourage that because none of us needs the angst. If you have a good tenant, paying their rent on time and they are there for a long time, it’s beneficial to everyone.”