Being a landlord can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding gigs or side jobs one can undertake. It takes time to figure what helps versus what hurts when it comes to being successful in this realm. Fortunately for you, we can help. Read on for tips on eight things every landlord should be doing. Manage these tasks well on a regular basis and you’ll surely landlord long and prosperously.
- Thoroughly Screen Tenants
Ask any landlord and he or she will tell you the worst part of this job is tenant turnover. Once you’ve got people living on your property that are paying rent on time and being thoughtful residents, the last thing you want to have happen is for them to move. To prevent this from happening, you need to ask thorough tenant screening questions and enlist various tenant screening techniques. Have your prospects fill out a thorough application, talk to past landlords, ask for references, run a credit and background check, and assess their ability to pay. It’s a labor-intensive process but well worth it in the long run.
- Ensure Repairs are Prompt
A majority of people aspire to become homeowners but there are benefits to renting, too. One of the biggest rental attractions is that when something breaks, help is shortly on the way (and most likely included in the price of rent). If you’re too busy with other endeavors and unable to give prompt replies to repair requests, you’ll need to hire someone to be on call. If not, you run the risk of losing your best tenants.
- Be Thoughtful
You don’t need to know everyone’s birthdays and favorite foods by any means, but landlords that want to be successful should be courteous to tenants. Always greet them by their names, and although presents aren’t necessary, a small token of your appreciation during the holidays never hurts. It might sound silly, but if a good tenant is waffling on whether to renew his or her lease, these thoughtful gestures could become the deciding factor.
- Respect Tenants’ Space
This might sound like it’s in direct contradiction to #3, but it’s not. Know your legal rights as a landlord, and never abuse these by doing things such as checking on property when you know tenants aren’t home. While visiting your property on occasion and driving by is fine, you must follow the laws and the lease on whether you can enter. Consider setting up an inspection twice a year—which is an industry norm. Never assume you can enter the property any time you want, and of course, you should avoid the dreaded, faux-casual drop in. Trust me, tenants will be onto you.
- Get with the Times
Just about everything can be paid online these days, so if you’re sticking by the old tried and true demand that everything be mailed or dropped off, this could be a huge turn-off to tenants. Everyone is busy with careers, families, and life in general, so streamline web-based processes and make rental payments more convenient for renters. Some landlords are even offering “smart” options in their rental units, as these touches are great at attracting Millennials.
- Have an Attorney Review the Lease
Real estate law is extremely complicated and constantly changing, so be sure to have a lawyer review your lease and verify its legality. When it comes to evictions, the process can be extremely sticky; a good landlord will make sure her or she is well-versed in these laws in the case of any future disputes.
- Use Lease Targeting to Maximize Occupancy
As this Landlordology.com article notes, you’ll want to “schedule the majority of your lease dates for times when the market is providing tenant traffic.” Setting a target move-in date shouldn’t be random, and June 1st is often said to be an ideal choice.
- Make Your Property Stylish Without Going All Out
Splurging on expensive granite counters and fancy fixtures for your rental unit is not only unnecessary, but it could even be a drawback. What if a tenant ruins these? What is your recourse besides collecting their deposit? You want to make sure you offer nice and stylish amenities whenever possible without going over the top.
Being a good landlord isn’t rocket science. Follow these simple guidelines on common courtesy and ensuring efficiency and you’ll be good to go.