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How can landlords make a rented property feel like a home?

Wed 29 Jul 2020

Home is where the heart is, as the old saying goes. And that has taken on a whole new meaning in recent times, with so many of us spending much more time indoors.

Home became a sanctuary for most during the height of the lockdown, and this is likely to be the case moving forward as more and more people work from home and push for better work/life balance.

In the rental market, tenants will be placing more importance than ever on a homely, welcoming abode, and a rental house that feels like a home. Many of them may be looking to put down longer-term roots in their local community, as the pandemic reduces the desirability of transient renting, and this is much more likely if they feel happy in their rental home.

Below, with help from trade body ARLA Propertymark, we offer up some top tips on how landlords can make their rental properties feel like a home. This may be something you or your letting agent wants to introduce, or you may be happy for your tenants to introduce some of their own personality to the home when they move in.

Light it up

An easy, inexpensive way to change up a home, lighting can play a key role in improving the look and feel of a property. This could be anything from an eye-catching floor lamp to twinkling fairy lights or a bold new lampshade – all of which can add atmosphere while not costing very much. 

These features are also easily removed, so they can be swapped between tenancies if required. And you won’t be left with lighting that your tenants have introduced that you don’t like.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Another excellent way of creating an illusion of space and brightness in the home, mirrors come in all shapes, sizes and colours, and are quick and easy to install. They’re also not very expensive.

If the tenancy agreement doesn’t allow for holes to be made in the walls, but your tenants would like to install mirrors regardless, ask them to try propping the mirror up against the wall instead ‘for a laidback feel’.

Rearrange the furniture

It’s only a small and simple thing, but moving furniture around can help to dramatically transform a room and improve its homeliness. Before a tenancy, you may want to try a new layout to see if that is a better fit and potentially more appealing to tenants.

If you have existing, long-term tenants, you may want to give them permission to move the furniture around as they see fit – from moving the sofa to a different wall, to putting tables and coffee tables in different positions.

If you offer a furnished property, have a play around with the rugs, cushions, throws and other soft furnishings before a new tenancy to make sure your property is as homely as possible. Renting out your home unfurnished or part-furnished may work out better, as your tenants can furnish to their own tastes with their own rugs, cushions, upholstery and even sofas.

Consider removable wallpaper

You will almost certainly have dressed your rental homes in neutral colours, to appeal to the widest possible audience, but such colours can sometimes be a little uninspiring. To enable tenants to add some excitement, vibrancy and character to their homes, while not being a permanent change, removable wallpaper is the best way forward. It offers tenants the ability to add a fun accent wall in their home. Tenants may also wish to upcycle old wardrobes or bedside cabinets by adding fun patterns and splashes of colour.

However, before giving permission for this, make sure that tenants do their research, look at customer reviews and even consider patch testing the wallpaper on some of their own furniture first to make that that it does peel off properly, doesn’t leave a residue, and doesn’t take any plaster with it. 

Encourage your tenants to speak to you first if they are nervous about the wallpaper. It may be the case, if they are long-term tenants or likely long-term tenants, that you are happy for them to paint the walls a different colour (within reason).

Bring the outside in

Plants are a very affordable way of bringing life and nature into a rental home. Greenery has become an increasingly important priority for many, so if you are looking to attract new tenants this could be a great way of doing so.

Houseplants have been proven to improve mood, reduce stress and increase productivity. One study, from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, even found that patients in hospital rooms with plants experienced less anxiety, pain and fatigue. 

Place plants in pots on the floor, on bookshelves or kitchen countertops to bring some green into the home, or encourage tenants to do this when they move in. If you’re worried about the plants not being taken care of, succulents are a great, harder to kill, alternative.

Remember to make sure that the tenancy agreement is clear at all times, on what a tenant can and can’t do, and take a flexible approach where possible. Compromise, clear communication and clarity will be much welcomed by tenants. Be on hand to answer tenants if they have questions about painting a room or adding a few pictures to the wall, and explain your reasons if you decide to say no.

Pets, for example, can help to make a house feel more homely, but they also come with many possible downsides, which is why more landlords than not refuse to allow them.

To find out more about letting your home successfully, and making your rental properties feel like homes, get in touch with Letting Solutions, West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, today.

We are open for business, albeit strictly in line with all the required rules around Covid-19. Members of our team are working remotely covering all aspects of the business. For more information, please see our full page details here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us, even if you are not a current client. You can ring us on 01506 496006 where our team are waiting to help. Or you can email us at:

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