Why Your Rental Units Are Empty
Having moved over six times in the last twelve years, I have done more than my fair share of apartment hunting. In this time, I have viewed over a hundred units, and over and over I have listened to tales of woe from the owners. They cannot understand why their units are sitting empty for months, even years, at a time. Some had obvious issues such as nearby noise, filth or damage in the unit, long flights of stairs, or ‘attractive nuisances’ such as churches or playgrounds nearby. But others suffered from far less-noticeable unwanted features that turned our decision against their unit. All of them are a waste of the potential client’s time and yours, if it is an issue they are unwilling to have in their home. Here are the three worst offenders.
Non-standard floor-plans should be disclosed in the initial advertisement. I’ve viewed units where you had to walk through the bathroom to enter the master bedroom, or through a bedroom to reach a kitchen. One apartment built on a top floor had a shower tucked under the steep slope of the roof, so that you had to sit in a shower-chair with a hand-held sprayer to bathe. There was no tub. Another unit had a bathroom in a hallway, shared by two other tenants with a communal cleaning schedule posted! While some tenants won’t mind a non-standard layout, others will completely reject your property because of them. Disclose them in your ad and save both of you the aggravation by using such phrases such as ‘interesting layout’, ‘shared bathroom’, or ‘unique space’.
Flooring can be another huge turn-off. Yes, that new, freshly-laid carpet is gorgeous. But if it is very light or very dark, I don’t want to deal with the hassles of keeping it immaculate. One unit I viewed was covered in white carpet and so heavily padded it felt spongy beneath my feet. It was lovely, but completely inappropriate and a liability. One dropped can of soda and it would have been ruined. Beautiful hardwood flooring can be a culprit as well. Tenants usually do not want to purchase area rugs to fit someone else’s property. They can be expensive and may not fit the rooms of their next dwelling. Left bare, floors can be cold, noisy and scuff easily. Neutral carpet that does not extend into the kitchen and bathroom is optimal. If you have no intention of changing the flooring, disclose it early, either in the ad or the initial call with phrasing such as ‘all exposed hardwood’ or ‘new white carpet throughout’.
Pets policy is perhaps most frustrating of all. Do not advertise a unit as ‘pet friendly’ and then wait for the viewing to announce only one pet is permitted, or that it is cats-only or dogs-only. If there is a maximum number of pets, disclose this either in the ad or during the initial phone inquiry. Conversely, do not advertise as ‘no pets’ if there are others in the building with pets. The dander and allergens can spread into the common stairwells or ventilation and cause life-threatening reactions. ‘No pets this unit’ is a far more fair statement. If changing a unit from ‘pet friendly’ to ‘no pets’ between tenants, the carpets must be replaced and the entire unit scrubbed with care.
Furthermore, to avoid any problems, it is important that you back up yourself with the necessary information or data about the current standing of properties. Websites like surveys-northeast.co.uk will help you find the best deal for you so you don’t have to be stressed and frustrated.
These are the three largest problems I’ve encountered in my search for housing. If property owners were more forthcoming about these issues, time and aggravation could be saved. And if your unit continues to sit idle, you may want to consider changing either the unit itself or the wording in your advertisements. Honesty from the beginning can help you in your quest to find the perfect tenant for your space!