Before your tenant spends a day in your property, you need to put the time in to make sure they are a good fit. Not enough landlords spend the time to go through the application process. In neglecting due diligence, they jeopardize their portfolio. Even when you are comfortable with a tenant, your job is not over. There are many things that you need to do to constantly build your relationship. The better the tenant/landlord relationship, the more likely you will not have any problems.
It is no secret that communication is the key to any healthy relationship. The same is the case when dealing with tenants. Before the lease is signed, you need to talk about expectations and responsibilities. You should assume that your tenant knows nothing about you and the property. To protect yourself, you should go over the lease line by line. If there are things that are important to you, don’t hesitate to spend extra time on them. Many landlords avoid talking about difficult subjects because they are afraid the tenant may walk. If they have a problem with the parking rules or how you want your house taken care of, it is better to know about it sooner rather than later. Don’t be afraid to talk about late rent penalties or anything else that is important to you. The more that you can get out on the table before your tenant moves in, the smoother the transition will be.
One of the biggest pet peeves for tenants is not being able to get in touch with their landlords. Many landlords view calls as an annoyance, and simply avoid them all together. This is the worst thing you can do for your property. Ignoring calls or emails is basically telling your tenants that they aren’t important enough for you to deal with. If you do this enough times, your tenants will feel the same way about you and the property. They may not call you the next time the toilet won’t stop running. Fixing toilets and other minor items is part of being a landlord. You should have handymen and contractors in place to quickly take care of these issues. These will certainly not break the bank. In doing them quickly, you show your tenant you will take care of the property. Your tenants want to know that they have a landlord that will take care of the property.
There is no right or wrong way to run your investment property. For every landlord that does things one way, there is someone else that will do the opposite. The common thread among most landlords is that they treat their tenants firm but fairly. There is a delicate balance and a fine line that needs to be addressed.
If your tenant calls you on the 27th of the month to let you know the rent may be a few days late, how would you react? One side would tell you to enforce the penalty and not let this become a habit. The other side would say that they are only a few days late and you should be grateful that they let you know. The best solution is to meet somewhere in the middle. You don’t want to let your tenants take advantage of you, but you also can’t overreact to everything. Find out what the reason was, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. By working with your tenants from time to time you improve your relationship, which may keep them in the house for years.
Tenants want to feel that they own the property. If you make the house feel like their home, they will take care of it. The best way to accomplish this is to give them space. Nobody likes to be checked on all the time. By unexpectedly knocking on the door and walking around the property you are invading their privacy. You can bet that they will want out of the house as soon as the lease expires. You have every right to inspect your property from time to time, but schedule these visits far in advance. You may even be able to tell something about them. If they spend the time to clean the place up, you know you have good tenants. If the house is still a mess, even with some warning, you know you may have to find new tenants at the end of the lease. Either way, you should give your tenants plenty of notice before you plan on stopping by.
A good tenant will often spend years in the same place. If you find one, it will save you time and and give you piece of mind. Good tenants won’t just fall into your lap. Oftentimes you need to do your part as well. The better the relationship with your tenant, the easier your job as a landlord will become.