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The New Age Tenant

Investors could risk losing valuable rental income if they don’t accommodate for the ‘new age’ tenant, according to leading landlord insurance specialist, Terri Scheer Insurance.

Terri Scheer Insurance, Executive Manager, Carolyn Parrella, said tenant expectations were rapidly changing and she was calling for investors to keep up or risk falling behind competitively.

“Nowadays tenants expect more from a rental property.  Big ticket items, such as dishwashers, high speed internet connections, ensuites and even energy saving features, which were once considered luxuries have become standard requirements,” Ms Parrella said.

“For investors, not offering these additional comforts could make a real difference to the amount of rental income they could potentially earn.

“It pays to think outside the square about what tenants might consider essential requirements when looking for a rental property to live in.”

Ms Parrella said investors needed to consider a number of things when catering for new age tenants.

Add modern conveniences

“Properties with additional features above and beyond the standard are likely to appeal to a higher proportion of potential tenants and their needs,” Ms Parrella said

“For instance, having the infrastructure to support high speed wireless internet could be a key requirement for some tenants who may work from home, study or have a growing family.

“Dishwashers may be a key consideration for busy professionals and families when looking for a rental property.

“The addition of an ensuite, while not essential, will also likely win over tenants more than a property with one shared bathroom.

“The installation of a security system will give tenants extra peace of mind that they are living in a safe and secure property.

“An automatic watering system will also make life easier for tenants required to maintain a garden.

“While investors are not expected to furnish properties, providing tenants with modern conveniences  may not only make their experience more comfortable and enjoyable, it may also encourage them to stay at the property for longer.”

Green energy savings

“As utility bills increase, many people are looking for cheaper, greener ways to use electricity and save water around the home,” Ms Parrella said.

“Rental properties with solar power are becoming highly sought after and, for many investors and tenants alike, this can be a real selling point.

“Likewise, the installation of rain water tanks is an environmentally friendly way to save money on water costs.”

Hire professionals

“A property that requires as little maintenance as possible will make life much easier for both tenant and landlord as it will minimise the effort and cost involved in upkeep once the tenant has moved in,” Ms Parrella said.

“Landlords or property managers may wish to consider hiring a gardener or cleaner to help maintain the upkeep of the property.

“While, there is obviously an additional cost involved in hiring professionals to help, landlords may be surprised how much a tenant will appreciate the added comfort of knowing the property and backyard are well looked after, with little of their own effort.

“Presenting a clean, tidy, low maintenance and well cared for property sets the standard and will encourage tenants to keep it in good condition.”

Obtain appropriate insurance

“Fitting a rental property out with modern appliances and added features makes it even more important to obtain appropriate insurance,” Ms Parrella said.

“Theft and damage can be costly for landlords if they do not have adequate insurance to cover replacement costs.

“Even the best tenant can accidentally damage the property or suffer financial hardship.

“A standard home and contents insurance policy will not cover landlords for these particular risks.

“A specifically designed landlord insurance policy will help avoid being left out of pocket should these unforseen events occur.”

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