Whether you’re renting out a room in your house or you’ve got a dozen properties leased to different tenants, you can always benefit from fresh tips for landlords.
The business of property management is always changing, and there are ways for landlords new and old to run a better, more efficient business.
Read on to learn nine ways to become a better landlord—you (and your tenants) will be glad you did!
1. Stay Professional
One of the key elements of being a landlord is to stay professional. Managing properties is a business, so you need to treat it like one. Your relationship with your tenants should reflect this.
Don’t rent to personal friends or family members. If you’re renting out a house to someone you have a close relationship with, you’ll be tempted to let certain things slide, and that’s a bad habit to get into.
Being professional also prevents you from letting emotions cloud your judgment if a tenant breaks a lease or requires eviction.
2. Keep Detailed Records
Like any business, managing properties requires a fair amount of bookkeeping. It’s very important to keep detailed records of transactions between yourself and your tenants.
The most obvious example of this is rent: you need to keep records of when you received rent, whether it was late, and so on. Give your tenants receipts, too, so that both of you are on the same page.
This also applies to things like repairs you make to the home during the tenant’s stay, as well as any extra deposits or fees they may owe you from the lease.
Essentially, if there’s even a chance something will be relevant in a possible legal dispute in the future, keep a record of it!
3. Create a Screening Process
Before renting out a house to someone, you need to know you can trust them. That’s why you should implement a thorough screening process for new tenants.
A screening process can include things like background checks, credit checks, and work history. These things will give you an idea of whether the prospective tenant will be able to make rent consistently.
You should also look for references from former landlords the tenant has rented from.
4. Improve Your Property Management
Being a landlord is often a solo position, especially if you’re just starting in the profession and only have one or two properties to rent. It doesn’t have to be that way, though: you could hire a property manager.
Property managers can handle the day-to-day aspects that a landlord may need to deal with, such as minor repairs and rent collection. Paying a property manager will reduce your profits, but saves you time.
There are also several forms of property management software that you can use to streamline the process of being a landlord.
5. Be Consistent
If you want to keep your tenants happy, staying consistent is crucial. Consistency means always sticking to the rules laid out in your rental agreement, which will help your tenant know what to expect.
Consistency also means carrying out your duties as a landlord in a timely and efficient manner. Be accessible to your tenants and address concerns within a specified timeframe.
If a tenant doesn’t trust you to turn up when you say you will, the entire relationship can turn sour.
6. Understand Laws and Ordinances
Your lease agreement isn’t the only set of rules you need to follow. No matter where you’re managing properties, you need to understand and follow local laws and ordinances.
These laws will play a part in creating your lease agreement to begin with, so you should have a decent idea of what terms you’re allowed to set. Setting illegal terms in your lease can land you in legal trouble.
You also need to know what your legal responsibilities to your tenants are.
7. Be Clear About Lease Information
Writing a good lease is only the first step; you also need to make certain that your tenants understand it. Don’t make any assumptions here: go through the lease with them so that you can be sure they’ve read it.
This does two things: it establishes that both parties understand and agree to the terms of the rental, and it helps you look professional and trustworthy to your tenants.
You can rest easy knowing that your tenants understand what they’re not to do, and your tenants can likewise feel secure in the knowledge that you didn’t sneak in any hidden clauses.
8. Offer Incentives to Good Tenants
When managing properties, you want to do anything you can to retain good tenants; there are far more bad ones than good ones, so retaining the good ones is important.
Check with good tenants about renewing their agreement a few months before it expires—ideally, they’ll agree and you won’t have to go through the process of screening new tenants or dealing with vacancies.
To go the extra mile, when that renewal comes up, offer to make some small improvements to the property. A new coat of paint or an upgraded appliance can increase the odds of a tenant sticking around.
9. Be Firm About Evictions
For every good tenant you find while being a landlord, you’ll get several bad ones; the worst of these will need to be evicted. It’s an unpleasant process for everyone involved, but it’s necessary to protect your property.
The best way to achieve a successful tenant eviction is to be firm. Don’t let the tenant try to talk you out of it, and don’t back down if they try to intimidate you.
As long as you approach it with a firm understanding of local laws and your contract with the tenant, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Follow These Tips for Landlords
Being a landlord isn’t always easy, but now that you’ve read our tips for landlords, you’re well-equipped to improve your property management business and make things better for you and your tenants.
That’s the beauty of reading landlord tips: when you become a better landlord, everyone benefits!
Are you looking for other ways to step up your property game? Visit our real estate blog for more ways to make your properties–and your business—better!