Being a landlord often comes with a reputation. Many landlords find themselves fighting the idea that they are a greedy, less than caring, slumlord—but don’t worry you have the power to counteract this image. Follow these basic steps and start to build a positive reputation in your community!
1. Know your rights
Every landlord needs to be fully versed in the state and city laws affecting them. It is also critical that landlords also understand the rights of tenants.
Be aware of your limits. The best way to protect your property, your tenant and yourself is to be educated.
2. Screen your tenants and place them in the right property
Effective tenant screening is a must. After all, this is your property and you need to know you are leaving it in good hands. Determine the qualities a potential tenant must have in order to rent from you. What credit score must they posses, how many references do you want, do you want paystubs and proof of employment? You must also be sure that you are placing the right tenant in the right property. If the tenant has dogs and you have had issues with the neighbors regarding previous tenants having pets, would it be okay to choose that tenant? Don’t take tenant screen and placement lightly.
No.3 Draft a clear, concise and enforceable lease
Nothing is worse than having a wishy-washy lease. Be sure to clearly layout your expectations and needs as a landlord. Provide the tenant with information about property maintenance, information regarding rent payments and increases, rules about noise and disturbance, sublet information, policies regarding pets and visitors, alterations the resident may make to the home, late payment fees and fees for eviction. Being upfront with your tenant will save you time, money and headache should the tenant break the lease. And DON’T rely on an oral lease. It is always best to have written documentation.
No. 4 Maintain open lines of communication with your tenant
It is important to remember a large chunk of being a landlord/property manger comes down to customer service. Don’t forget… your income hinges on keeping the tenant in the property. Be sure to provide the tenant with common courtesy and inform them of when you will be in the home or when you need to schedule maintenance. Provide them with a means of contacting you and be sure to respond to their needs in a timely manner. Create an environment where the tenant feels comfortable and wants to renew their lease with you.
No. 5 Don’t be afraid to enforce the rules from the lease agreement
You spent time lying out the terms of the lease for a reason… so don’t buckle under pressure. If the tenant is late with their rent or violates a no-pet clause you must take action. The renter understands the stipulations provided through the lease and will appreciate a friendly reminder. If they choose not to respond or change their actions you are well within your right to terminate the lease or take the prescribed step towards rectifying the situation.