Whatever the reason, be it merely temporary tight-fistedness on the part of mortgage lenders (as our colleagues on the sales side would have everyone believe), or - just possibly - the final collapse of Britain’s 40-year love affair with property ownership, the growing mis-match between demand and supply in the private rental sector means that tenants are looking to stay longer in their homes. This in turn means that there are now many more opportunities for renewals.
But, you may well ask, why bother with a renewal? Why not just let the tenancy go periodic?
Well, of course you can do that – and it does at least have the merit of involving little time or trouble on anyone’s part. Nevertheless, there are some very good reasons why it makes a great deal of sense for everyone concerned to consider entering into another fixed term – not least, the fact that it offers both landlord and tenant security for a further set period of time. After all, anything that reduces the risk of void periods has got to be worthwhile. Remember, while a property is empty it’s not an investment – it’s a speculation!
For the landlord, renewal is a time to revisit the market and check that adequate rentals are being achieved. Meanwhile, for the tenant, who has now lived in the property for a period and therefore knows what works for them and what doesn’t, it provides the ideal opportunity to air all those niggling little issues. In short, renewal provides the appropriate formal setting for both parties to revisit the whole agreement - to renegotiate rents, perhaps, or review the terms of the tenancy and renegotiate them accordingly.
Renewal is a bit like the end of year school report; an opportunity to review, to look at what has worked and what needs to change. In effect, the tenant can award the landlord marks for condition, repairs, decoration, garden maintenance on so on. At the same time, the landlord can award the tenant marks for timely rental payments and housekeeping, etc.
Meanwhile, of course, both parties can also look at the agent and award marks for their professionalism and quality of service – whether it is proactive, efficient, friendly and informative, or less than adequate.
So, where exactly does the letting agent come into this – aside from being the passive object of critical assessment from both sides of the deal?
In fact, renewal provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism to both landlord and tenant. After all, you are the expert in this field, which puts you right at the centre of the process - checking current market conditions and advising landlords on potential rental increases, while discussing possible improvements to the property with tenants. It also gives you the chance to keep the landlord focused on the bigger picture - keeping the property in tip top condition will mean he has to spend a lot less when it finally becomes vacant.
Finally, renewal time also provides an all too rare opportunity to touch base with let-only landlords, to see how they are getting on. You never know, they might need help!