If you are thinking about renting out your property to a renter as a first-time landlord, or already do have a rental property but think you could be a better landlord, there are several tips that can help you succeed.
Oftentimes, landlords get a bad reputation because they don’t treat their rental investment with the focus that it requires. Successful landlords treat their tenants well and work to build a good relationship with them.
Here are seven best practices to help you be a successful landlord!
1. Make sure your property is clean & secure
Treating others the way that you would want to be treated is a great rule for being a landlord. Oftentimes, rental homes don’t have everything that your permanent residence has.
While this is to be expected, renters do expect that the rental home has basic needs included. This means providing secure and working locks and windows, and clean space. Consider mold testing if you notice any signs of mold in your rental.
Starting on a bad foot happens when renters get to the home and it is not cleaned from the previous renters.
2. Have a lease with full and detailed disclosures
Having a lease that is read and signed by both parties before the renter has moved into the property is crucial. Make sure to make clear guidelines for what you will and will not do for renters so that the expectations are clear from the start.
An unclear lease leaves room for miscommunication between the landlord and the tenant. Having a clear understanding between you and your tenants is important to maintain a good relationship and be able to attract new renters when the lease is up for the current ones.
3. Make repairs promptly
One of the biggest complaints that renters have about landlords is that they are not attentive to repairs and requests that renters make. Making sure to get out to the property and make repairs or have contractors come out promptly will speak volumes with renters.
In the scenario where crucial assets need attention – such as the furnace breaking in winter – make it a point to come out the same day or the next, tenants deserve to live comfortably just as much as landlords do.
Any repairs related to plumbing or leaks should be taken care of immediately regardless. Water damage can turn into an expensive problem if it isn’t taken care of quickly.
4. Check with and consult references
References are required for rental applications for a reason, and too often they are disregarded as long as they are listed. This is a mistake that many landlords have made and have had to pay the price when their renters are disrespectful.
Renters may put references on their applications that are not true references, such as friends or family members. Make sure to double-check that the references have a good word to put in for the renter before you allow them to move into your property.
5. Get insurance
This is a huge aspect of being a successful landlord. As much as renters may be careful, accidents can happen and you don’t want to be responsible for the repairs totally out of pocket.
There are specific insurance policies set up just for landlords that cover the building but not your tenant’s personal property. You can require your tenants to set up their own rental insurance as part of the terms of the lease.
Getting your legal documents in order for your rental is similar to what you would do if you were starting a business. Along with insurance, prepare any other important documents pertaining to the property and keep them together in one place.
6. Everything needs to be in writing
Getting everything in writing that is exchanged between you and your tenants is one of the best practices that you can do. Regardless of whether they called and told you on the phone already or not, have them email you as well.
Make sure to have documents of all service requests and other transactions between you and your tenants, because this will not leave any room for dispute. Keeping a paper trail of everything is also good to show potential renters the insurance and the tax write-offs.
7. Treat your tenants with respect
Tenants will likely treat you with respect – and your property – if you treat them the same. While this may not always be the case, people are much more likely to be respectful if they feel that they are respected as well.
Managing your own rental property can be a stressful venture. However, by considering these small tips, a lot of stress can be avoided. Taking small steps to make sure your property is well maintained and your tenants are happy will go a long way.