Whilst the emphasis has shifted online to advertising for rental property. There is still a world outside the Internet that landlords can access to promote their buy-to-lets. Have a look at the options for writing and displaying a rental advert in the printed press and beyond.
Back in the olden days, in a time before the 'interweb' had appeared magically from the ether, landlords would place their rental adverts in the back of the local paper. This information largely stems from then, so if you are interested in posting a rental advert in "Ye Olde Local Paper Press" and for other general advertising hints read on. Alternatively, we've written a piece for landlords wanting a guide to online rental property advertising.
Cramming the details of a property into a rental advert in the newspaper is no mean feat. Getting it right is key to finding the right tenant. Here’s a quick run down of how to go about writing a rental advert to be placed in a newspaper, alongside a few tricks on how to make any rental advert stand out from the crowd.
To start with, advert needs to reference the location of the rental property. Landlords can sometimes be‘creative’ in identifying an area if they feel it wil be helpful in pulling in tenants. For example: when a property is on the borders of a good and ‘dodgy’ area, it might be worth going with the former.
However, landlords need to remember that prospective tenants aren’t going to be too happy if landlords lure them to the less salubrious side of the tracks, only to present them with a hovel, so this approach will be more likely to work if the quality of the property out shines its marginal location.
Having located the investment property, now its time for a landlord to describe and sell it. For those landlords who are a little unfamiliar with press advertising, a landlord actually pay per line, hence the perpetual abbreviations. There is a whole range of them for property letting adverts and I have listed them below:
COMMON ADVERTISING ABBREVIATIONS
|Fgch||Full gas central heating||Pt/furn||Part furnished (appliances no furniture)|
|All mod cons||Appliances – cooker, fridge freezer, washing machine||Fully/furn||Beds and other furniture|
|Pcm||Per calendar month||U/f||Unfurnished (no appliances or furniture)|
|Pw||Per week||D/g||Double glazing|
|Exc||Exclusive of bills||N/s||Non smokers|
|Inc||Inclusive of bills||Pk||Parking|
Location of rental property
Normally an indication of the area is sufficient. Remember landlords should only be creative with the truth they really think that the tenants will be so impressed by the rental property that this will overcome the areas shortcomings. Landlords shouldn’t deliberately mislead tenants as this will just waste their time and the prospective tenants time. Is it close to somewhere important e.g. tube stop or somewhere the tenants may be interested in getting to e.g. university, large place of work or a city centre
Increasingly tenants are using the Internet to research an area particularly if the tenants are relocating. The inclusion of a postcode will help them to do this.
Features of rental property
A landlord should list things that the rental property has e.g.: garage, garden, full gas central heating (fgch). Is the rental property furnished included as part of the tenancy?
Description of rental property
A landlord’s opportunity to impress; keep it brief but landlords should think how they can make it stand out. Landlords can indicate the investment property’s condition, use the words new and fresh; this helps a landlord to paint a picture that is clean and inviting, see the tips below.
Rent amount of rental property
The amount of rent and of course the rental period – is it per week (pw), per month (pm) or per calendar month (pcm). Does the rent include bills (inc) or does it exclude them (exc)
A means of contact for landlord
The landlord’s name and telephone number. Landlords should remember by leaving their mobile number tenants will also be able to text. An e-mail address is important. More and more tenants use the Internet and e-mail to source property. E-mail is particularly useful as it allows tenants to be able to correspond with landlords whilst they are at work without alerting their work colleagues as to what they are really up to.
Advertisement – example
Beautifully refurbished 2 bed 1st floor apartment in a Listed mansion block. Pt/f with feature stone fireplace and bay over looking the common. Suit professional couple or sharers. No pets. FGCH, underground parking
£300 pw exc
Generally there is an automatic filter to the type of tenant that landlords are likely to get replying to their letting advert because of the duel influence of price and the area that the investment property is located in. Landlords can attempt to set certain criteria a potential tenant must comply with i.e. suit professional couple, or state the sort of tenants you wouldn’t let to i.e. no students, DWP or smokers. However, the sex & race discrimination laws means that specifying that a landlord wants a white female lodger for a house share would be contrary to both pieces of legislation, but because the age discrimination law only refers to employment, it is still perfectly legal for a landlord to specify the age of the tenant. Despite constraints, it is still possible for a landlord to set the tone of a letting advert to facilitate the type of tenant. For instance, a landlord can say: ‘Room available for non smoking professional tenant in young female house’. In this way landlords are not being overly prescriptive but hopefully the result is that the right sort of tenant self-selects.
The other approach is for landlords to engage in some amateur psychology. It does work, believe me. You may have discovered that men and women are different. Apparently, women respond more readily than men to emotive concepts and phrases. Therefore, if a landlord really wants to attract a female tenant, for instance into a female flat share. They should try to include the odd emotive adjective. Instead of a property, a landlord’s property becomes a ‘home’. Newly refurbished becomes ‘beautifully’ refurbish or ‘sympathetically’ refurbished. Not only does it attract female interest but it should make a landlords letting advert stand out from all the competitors letting adverts.
My ‘poetic’ approach isn’t appreciated by everyone. It did once result in me falling out with my local paper. They were convinced that my thoughtful lettings advert for a “beautiful white space” showed racist intent and refused to publish it. I remain convinced that it was a piece of marketing brilliance that would have connected instantly with the type of tenant I was aiming for looking for a minimalist haven, but I could also see the potential misinterpretation.
Here is a list of practical tips for landlords I have picked up over the last 15 years of advertising property to let:
Landlords should try registering with their local university. Landlords should have an accommodation list. From my experience the universities will normally insist that the letting premises reach a certain prescribed standard of habitation and safety. This will include adequate fire alarms and a means of escape. Each bedroom is likely to have to reach a minimum size and contain certain items of furniture, such as a desk and bed. As well as registering directly landlords could try advertising on one of the dedicated letting web sites such as www.accommodationforstudents.com . It costs £12 per month per property and ensures that a landlord has national exposure for their rental property. Landlords need to remember with student accommodation unlike most other types of rental property there is a definite season. Students will generally start looking for accommodation for the start of the academic year from about the middle of August. Once term starts in early October then the market will go quiet as most students will have sorted out their living arrangements by then.
Is a landlords rental accommodation suitable for their staff? Like any major employer there maybe a notice board or increasingly an intranet where a landlord can post details for free. The only way to find out unless a landlord knows somebody that works there is to phone up and ask. It’s all about landlords being entrepreneurial. After all what has a landlord you got to lose? A landlord can never know they might just ‘bag’ the perfect tenant for free.
Landlords might think it sounds like a long shot. The reality is that there has been a number of times I have mentioned in conversation that I have a property to rent only for somebody to reply with: ‘I’ve got a friend……’. It happens so landords should be aware of the possibilities. I know a number of landlords with holiday lets, who seem to get most of their lettings through work and social contacts.
It’s always worth landlords having a look to see if they have a notice board. These places are hubs of community activity. Not much goes on without the shopkeeper or postmaster knowing about it. Just by landlords mentioning it to them is as good as announcing it to the whole village.
There is of course the tried and tested approach of advertising within the property section of the local paper. Many of these have dedicated sections or supplements for property adverts published on certain days of the week. It’s worth landlords finding out when, so they can time their letting adverts to appear in them.
The dynamic of the modern employment market means that increasing numbers of people have to move to new areas because of their work. This means that they often know very little about the area they are moving to and also will do all their accommodation finding on-line. Almost all these ‘inward locators’ will look to initially rent. It is therefore important that landlords get their property listed on one of the major web sites such as Rightmove or Fish4homes. This can happen automatically, with some press adverts. Landlords should make sure that they know the score and ensure that they have their rental property listed on at least one decent website to ensure that they might attract an ‘inward locator’.
For those landlords lucky enough to have a mansion or a rental property that is a little bit special. The national and local papers have hundreds of column inches to fill each week in their numerous property sections. As a consequence they are always looking for property articles on interesting buildings. Therefore a speculative e-mail by a landlord may result in a feature in one giving your rental property an excellent free profile.
Research shows that between 85-90% of property buyers use the web to find residential properties that they are interested in. Increasingly it’s the Internet that tenants turn to first to start their search for a place to live. Therefore it’s essential that landlords get their rental property on-line if they want to market their investment property. There are literally hundreds of rental marketing sites. Many of them will have only a few hundred, possibly as few as a few tens of properties to let. Using one of these sites is a waste of time and money for landlords as the chances of one of their prospective tenants accessing a lowly ranked site is very small. What you a landlord is better off doing is to pay more to get on one of the major listing sites.
Letting property is now a competitive business for landlords. Ten years ago if a landlord had anything half decent then tenants would be literally beating the landlords door down to view the property to let. Then after seeing numerous shabby neglected rental properties they would be falling over themselves to sign the tenancy agreement. Now it’s different for landlords. The arrival of buy-to-let and the increasing numbers of new apartments aimed specifically at residential investors and their tenants’ means that the tenant expects more and can afford to be selective. The result is that landlords have to work hard & be pro-active in order to fill their investment property. I have heard stories in some large city centre complexes of landlords going around touting for tenants by offering to undercut their fellow landlords.
In much the same way as house sales tend to go flat over Xmas and the early part of the new year until February and also over the traditional ‘summer holiday’ months of July & August – property letting interest also tends to be at its lowest at these times. Therefore, landlords should try and avoid having to re-let at these times wherever possible.
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
HMO (HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION)
TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME (TDS)
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
COMMUNAL HEATING REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
A GUIDE FOR NEW LANDLORDS
WHICH PERIOD OF PROPERTY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
PROPERTY INVESTMENT CLUBS
MANAGING RENTAL PROPERTY
GIVING NOTICE TO LEAVE
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
FAIR WEAR AND TEAR
MOULD AND CONDENSATION
MAINTENANCE OF A RENTAL PROPERTY
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
TEN STEPS TO LETTING
WRITING A LETTING ADVERT
FURNISHING A PROPERTY
LETTING AGENT OR DIY
SELECTING A LETTING AGENT
TENANTS ON BENEFITS
LETTING TO STUDENTS
PREPARING AN INVENTORY
RIGHT TO RENT GUIDANCE
TERMS OF A TENANCY
LENGTH OF A TENANCY
RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
TENANCIES IN SCOTLAND
LETTING TO TENANTS WITH PETS
LEGISLATION OF LETTING PROPERTY
TENANCY DEPOSIT DISPUTES
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
PREPARING FOR A POSSESSION HEARING
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS