Property management and being a landlord is tough, to put things mildly. One must contend with constantly complaining tenants, those who do not pay their rent, and seemingly endless repairs and maintenance issues. Rental real estate and being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility and stress. When everything is said and done, it can all turn a good-natured person into a jaded landlord.
Nonetheless, being a good landlord is essential if you want good tenants. It is easier to just look at renters as merely revenue, rather than people and building good tenant/landlord relationships. There are numerous benefits to creating a strong connection with your tenants. It is important to attract and retain good tenants, and it becomes very costly when a property becomes vacant. Happy tenants are just good business. Don’t you agree?
Above and beyond the lost rent, it can take a landlord 40 hours or more to replace a tenant. That is time spent advertising the property, screening prospects, showing the rental, reviewing applications and everything else required. Working to keep good tenants makes a whole lot more sense. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to get started.
Becoming a Great Landlord
1. Customize Your Lease – Those fill-in-the-black forms you find online and in office supply stores are one-size-fits-most, even when they are state specific. Create a straightforward lease with clear expectations and rules, including late payment fees.
2. Educate Your Tenants – Set expectations early. Don’t assume they will actually read the lease or your rental guidelines. Take the time to explain all your rules and policies. A little time up front will help you avoid headaches later.
3. Set Up Regular Property Inspections – This will give you the opportunity to make sure that the property is in good condition and stay on top of maintenance. However, it also gives you the opportunity to see how tenants are treating your property.
4. Make Timely Repairs – As the landlord, you are responsible for the repair and upkeep of the rental property. Don’t wait until something becomes an emergency. The faster you handle repairs, the happier your tenant.
5. Always Use Precise Language – If a tenant violates the rules of the lease, it is important to use precise language. If you are not clear, you may lose the ability to enforce that clause of the agreement.
6. Respect Privacy – Your tenants have a right to their privacy. You need to provide proper notice if you plan a visit. Moreover, it is a good idea to limit visits to regular business hours or the very early evening.
7. Show Compassion – Some will disagree, but if you show a tenant some compassion when they have an issue (within reason), they will remember the kindness. This can create a lot of goodwill and loyalty. Just don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.