It is no hidden fact that good landlords have good tenants. This is because your rental property is basically a business, and the tenants are the customers. Your tenants pay you for a service that they need and you provide. It is in a landlord’s best interest that they keep their tenant for as much time as they can, right?
In general, a landlord spends around 20-40 hours to fill a vacancy on their rental unit. This includes many things, such as advertising, showing, looking at credit reports and applications, and going through the entire process of leasing. Needless to say, it is much better to have a good tenant who keeps renewing their lease.
To attract better tenants, you should be a fantastic landlord. A good landlord always treats their tenants well, follows legal guidelines, and goes forward for their tenants. In case you are wondering how you can be a good landlord, here are fifteen great tips to help you get started.
15 Things to be aware of to be a Great Landlord
#1: Help your tenant in getting acquainted with the new area
Given that your tenant is most likely new to town, they would surely appreciate you helping them to get acquainted. This includes giving them directions to local places of interests such as pharmacies, grocery stores, and similar facilities. You can also give them a link to any available online map service. If you have done this once, it will be easy for you to keep doing this for your future tenants as well.
#2: Write your tenants a welcome Letter
While it may sound a little old-school, writing a welcome letter to your tenant will help them feel welcomed and feel that you are happy to have them in your property as a lessee. This will set a positive vibe that will carry for the remainder of the term and make for a great landlord-tenant relation. Additionally, you should also mention how they can contact you in case they need your help, and give them special instructions, such as contact information for utility services and times for the trash collector to arrive.
#3: Stock the Bathrooms
Stocking the bathroom is generally not something that your tenant has in mind when they first move in. Something as simple and stocking the bathrooms of your property with soap dispenser and toilet paper will make your tenants feel that you are involved in the affairs of the property, and they will definitely appreciate your thoughtfulness. Additionally, you can also leave other things like an all-purpose cleaner and paper towel rolls. This will show them that you prioritize cleanliness which will inspire them to do so too.
#4: Help your renters in changing their address
Small things such as including address-labels for their apartment, or packets from the post-office consisting of change-of-address details and a welcome letter will go a long way in showing the tenants how detail-oriented you are. They are bound to appreciate the thought which you put into everything that you do and will love your foresight on matters of importance. They will also assume you to be a responsible person – which is a very important quality a landlord must have.
Furthermore, you can also provide instructions on change-of-address when/if they leave. This will benefit you as well, since it will prevent you from getting their mail that you will have to throw away or forward to them.
#5: Dress Neatly
Your dress goes a long way in making a good (or bad) impression on your tenants. Make sure to dress neatly when you first meet your tenants, and when you are at the start of the residency. A clean and tidy appearance of you will lead your tenants to assume that that is how you maintain your property as well. While this becomes less of an important issue once the tenant gets to know you better, it means a lot during the earlier stages.
#6: Follow the guidelines on lease
Always make sure that you follow the guidelines on the lease in case you ever get into a conflict with your tenants. NEVER try to decide the matters on your own. Remember, that the lease is the legal document signed by both of you, and cannot be avoided. In case any issues that have no mention on your lease arise, make sure to check your local landlord forums and the local ordinances to find out what your next move should be. In this way, you can show the tenant that you are acting within your rights and are acting the way other decent landlords are – should they object to your decision.
#7: Keep Your Cool
In case you ever find yourself disagreeing with your tenant on a particular matter (for instance, if they create problems in your apartment or fail to timely pay the rent repeatedly), you must make sure that you never lose your calm. Trust me, you would not want to be featured on YouTube’s latest “crazy landlord” video! Bear in mind that your units tenant is, after all, your customer and that you must never behave in an indecent way with them. This means no swearing and shouting, no threatening and no withholding their rights.
#8: Keep a healthy relationship with – and a healthy distance from your tenant
While it is wonderful to have a nice, friendly relationship with your tenant, you must know where to draw the line. Bear in mind that your rental property is at the core a business and that the relationship between you and your lessee is a purely professional one. It is best, therefore, that you maintain a healthy emotional distance, should something unfold such as you having to terminate their lease or meeting them in court may happen. Finally, it is your business that counts and you most certainly would not like to get caught-up emotionally at your business’s expense.
#9: Be Consistent
As a landlord, you must always make sure that you follow the guidelines of the lease. Make your tenants feel that they are respected and respond to their maintenance requests as early as possible – even if the request is to take a look at something. These small things on your part will give a good impression on your tenant and they will assume you to be professional and courteous.
#10: Be Accessible
Always make your tenants feel that you are there for them whenever they need your help. This includes giving them all of your phone numbers (in case you have more than one) as well as your email address. While the tenants should never abuse the privilege you offer them, they should have enough access to contact you in case an emergency situation arises. Moreover, there are certain issues you’d be better-off knowing early on. For instance, if your rental property’s toilet was overflowing, it would be much better for you to know about it as early as possible – preferably before anything major damage happens.
#11: Discuss the lease with them thoroughly
Believe it or not, it is possible to create a good impression on your tenant even before they have moved in! Make sure to discuss the lease with your tenant thoroughly and review each and every clause with them personally. This way, your tenant will feel more involved in the lease-signing process. By communicating every right and responsibility that each party has in signing the agreement, you will keep each and every thing open, which in turn will go a long way in building a relationship with your tenant that is based on trust and mutual understanding.
#12: Respond Promptly
The key to being a great landlord is to build a good relationship with the tenant. And a great part of that is made up by you, the landlord, responding to your tenant’s requests promptly. Always make sure that you respond to your tenant’s emails and/or phone calls as early as you can. After all, your rental property is a business, and any and all interactions that you make with your tenant are business interactions. Prompt responses always make for great business etiquette.
In case you cannot respond to your tenant (for instance, if you’re on vacation), tell your tenant about your unavailability in advance, and notify them of the period you will be unable to communicate with them as quickly as you generally do.
#13: Be Aware of Your Online Profile
Many sites such as ReviewMyLandlord and Yelp allow tenants to post their reviews of your rental property and your services. As a landlord, you must go through these sites to find out if any reviews of yours are there, and in case there is – what kind of reviews they are. In case you get a bad review, you should definitely address it (assuming that the site gives you the option to reply to the review).
If you do not have a profile currently, you can help build a good one. For instance, if you are currently keeping a great tenant, you should try to get them to write you a good review. You can also try calling up some of your old tenants (if you have any) and ask them to review you online. Remember, reviews are important because they are often used by prospective tenants to gather information and form an impression of you – even before they meet you.
That said, do not stress too much over reviews. After all, even the best landlords are bound to get some bad review here and there.
#14: Offer Online Services
Yet another great way to keep your tenant relaxed and happy is to offer them online services pertaining to renting. Offering both online lease signing and online rent collection services can make for a great way to make things easier for your tenants. By making it easier for your tenant to sign their lease and make their payments, you will make your rental property far more attractive to them.
#15: Keep digitized copies of all your documents
The thing with hard copies is that they often tend to get lost or misplaced. It is therefore wise to keep electronic versions of any and all papers that are connected to you, your tenant, and your rental property. This includes all documents that your tenant signs, along with other documents connected to your rental property. In this way, even if a document does go missing, you (and your tenant) will not be inconvenienced since you will be able to refer to the electronic copies.
Moreover, your tenant will surely appreciate getting a set of all rent-related documents in electronic form – attached in a single email containing all the documents that can easily be downloaded.
By following the aforementioned tips, you can become a fantastic landlord to your tenant which goes a long way in getting them to renew the lease for your rental property year after year.
Additionally, you can also check out our other blog articles on how to be a great landlord. Happy Reading!