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What To Do When Your Renter Happens To Be Your Friend?

We’ve discussed elsewhere on this blog the value of building a tenant-landlord relationship. How a good relationship with mutual respect can help a tenancy run smoothly. But what happens when that relationship is closer than normal? When your tenant is your friend.

Is renting out to your friend even a good idea? As with anything, there are pros and cons.

The benefits of renting to friends

If you have a property become vacant and you know a friend is looking for a rental it’s only natural to think about offering them your property. And there are benefits to this. The first of course is that you save on the cost of marketing the property and the time of waiting for tenants to find you. You also save on the time it normally takes to let a property. And there’s no need to carry out multiple viewings.

You know your friend is available and ready to move in. Sure, they’ll want to see the property but you can take them around anytime without trying to coordinate schedules with several different people.

You also save the time, hassle and expense of referencing. You know your friend. You know their personality and you probably have a good grasp of their financial position.

Best of all they’ll be no void period and your property will begin generating rental income immediately.

So, renting out to friends can save time and money on finding a tenant. But what’s the downside?

The drawbacks of renting to friends

As a private landlord, you’re running a business. And it’s much harder to make business decisions when your tenant is your friend.

If a tenant says they can’t afford the rent for a month or two you wouldn’t stand for it. But when that same tenant is your friend? It’s very difficult to forget about friendship when making business decisions. This is why many landlords absolutely refuse to rent their properties to friends.

Even asking for a deposit can be difficult. Will your friend think you don’t trust them? Yes, of course, it’s standard practice but this isn’t a stranger you’re dealing with. At least that will be your friend’s point of view.

Another drawback is that relationships can change. You may be best friends now but what about the future? If a relationship of any kind breaks down the fallout can be unpleasant. Trying to deal professionally with a former friend who is living in your property won’t be easy.

Having a friend as a renter can also cause a lot of hassle even if outwardly, they’re the perfect tenant and always pay the rent on time. Friends expect more. It’s only natural. They won’t be happy to wait for you to fix the dripping tap. They’ll expect it done instantly. They’ll also expect special treatment and not getting it can cause resentment.

Of course, the biggest drawback of renting to friends is what happens if they fall into arrears with the rent? You’re within your legal rights to evict. But would you really want to do that to a friend? Could you even do that?

The decision of whether to rent to a friend is a classic landlord dilemma. But there are many landlords who flatly refuse to do so. And it’s very understandable why they take that stance. Sometimes it really is best to keep your business and personal life separate.

Private landlords can find tenants fast by listing their property with MakeUrMove the online letting platform bringing landlords and tenants together.

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