Almost everyone has heard the old adage about treating others how you would like to be treated. If you are the owner of a rental property, you should take this to heart. The idea of renting out your property and simply waiting by your mailbox every month for a check is nice in theory, but not very practical. Even the best tenants will have issues time to time. Therefore, it is up to you as the landlord to address them. The more time that goes by without dealing with these problems, the more likely your tenant will begin to sour on you and the property. The dynamics of your relationship will deteriorate, along with how they treat your property. If this happens, you will have much bigger issues to worry about than dealing with a leaky faucet or changing the lock on a door. Do yourself a favor and be a good landlord.
The key to being a good landlord starts with how quickly you respond to these problems. While some may seem minor and insignificant to you, they may be very important to your tenant. Of course, getting a plumber to unclog a toilet at 11 at night is not realistic, but that doesn’t mean your tenant shouldn’t give a call back. If you let little things like this linger, your tenant will lose confidence in you and they will slowly get annoyed. This will lead to becoming more and more lax about sending the rent check on time or letting you know about a running toilet or other issues in the house that can cost you more over time. The odds are the items your tenant wants repaired are minor in nature and are justified. Don’t neglect these calls, as minor as they may seem to you.
If items need to be replaced, you need to think about how the work is done and the quality of the materials. If you are constantly trying to put a band aid on the problem, it will constantly resurface over time. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank for your appliances or other items that may need to be fixed, but if you go cheap with these items your tenants will know and your property appeal will be reduced. Sometimes spending $50-$100 extra to upgrade to the next level can make all the difference. For that nominal amount you can keep your existing tenant for another lease or quickly find a new one. It is OK to cut corners, but you have to know where to pick and choose your battles.
In addition to responding to requests when you are needed, you should also take the proactive step and perform seasonal maintenance every year. If you treat your rental house the same way you would treat your own, it will run much more efficiently and will have happier tenants. Instead of calling you in the middle of summer to let you know the central air stopped working they will be happy and cool and more likely to not want to leave when the lease is up.
Your goal is to have happy tenants who pay on time and stay in your house as long as possible. Doing the little things will ensure they feel this way. It is no secret that the best tenants have the best landlords. Remember this the next time you get a call to fix the dishwasher.