8 Tips for Being a Great Landlord
Preparing and renting out your property can be a time and energy depleting task, but it has its’ rewards. Many believe that being a landlord is a great and easy way to make a living or extra money. There are situations that this often is not the case. When the landlord and tenant relationship is stressed and not based on mutual trust, problems can arise. Understanding how to pick your tenants and communicate with them creates a win-win situation and a happier experience for everyone involved. See the 8 tips below for being a great landlord.
Use your time wisely…..Screen your applicants well before making your choice.
Before you implement any pre-screening policy be sure to check your local laws and ordinances. Making sure you have quality tenants is the most important first step to becoming a successful landlord. This can be time-consuming, but in the long run will give you peace of mind. Consider making a few phone calls to verify their income, rental history, credit-score, or performing a background check.
Educate your tenants when they first move-in.
Spend some time discussing the different aspects of the lease when your new tenant arrives the first day. Discuss the different responsibilities and rights they have in signing the lease-agreement, and make sure they understand what their duties are as tenants.
Set the agenda for what is expected of them.
Knowledge is powerful, so guide your tenant in what is expected of them. This will improve the quality of your communications with each other. For example: who is responsible for taking care of the lawn or snow plowing? Do you require tenant/renter’s insurance? Do tenants pay their own utility bills? How quickly should the tenants make you aware of repairs needed at the property?
Be available and accessible.
In our modern world we have immediate access to each other via our smartphones. Make sure to keep that direct line of communication open and be attentive to incoming calls or emails. Creating an alert on your phone to sound when your tenant has reached out to you is a great way to stay connected and responsive. Even a short, quick reply with a couple of words like “Ok, got it” or “I will look into it”, will acknowledge your tenants that you have received their message and already addressing the issue.
Stay on top of repair request or emergencies.
Nothing makes a tenant, angrier or frustrated than when repairs are not taken care of in a timely manner. Follow Tip #4 and be responsible, and available with a sense of urgency so when things go wrong you can quickly send help. Have a backup plan for when you can’t respond with a list of reliable contractors who are both willing and able to respond during your absence.
Schedule unit inspections.
As a landlord you may find a need to inspect your property. It is both an important and courteous gesture to notify your tenants, in advance, if you plan on stopping by for a unit inspection. A good rule of thumb is to give tenants a two-week notice. Make sure your right to inspection is spelled-out in your lease-agreement. Again, check with your local municipality for an update on local ordinances, laws, or statutes.
Respect is a two-way street.
If you treat your tenants with respect, they will treat you with respect as well. All relationships are built on the foundation of trust. With respect comes trust.
Follow your lease.
The lease that you and your tenant signed is there for a good reason. No matter if the circumstance is good, bad or ugly, make sure you are following the guidelines in the lease. It is the supporting record that will be used to determine if there is a breach on either side of the contract.