By Landlord Hank
You’ve bought a new property, fixed it up and made it nice, found the perfect tenant you feel comfortable with and are ready to sit back and collect rent every month.
That is an ideal situation and it may play out exactly that way.
How do we keep this perfect tenant that will pay rent on time, take care of your property and not bother the neighbors?
It begins with communication and starts with the lease. The lease is the foundation of your agreement with the tenant. You want your lease to spell out in detail tenant obligations and landlord obligations. I ask that tenants read the lease and I review the important points with the tenants. I want them to understand how much the rent is and when it is due to be received by me, not just mailed, and that there will be a late fee if rent is not rec’d by due date.
Then, I explain that I pay my obligations with the rent and I am assessed a late fee if I don’t pay when due, so I have to pass that on to tenant, if they are late.
Next, I stress to tenants that I want them to be happy and comfortable in their new home and that I need to know about any maintenance that needs to be done.
I also detail emergencies I need to be called about immediately, middle of the night or not, and that I’m always available for an emergency situation to help the tenant and protect the property.
Over the years I have been called in the middle of the night
Over the years I’ve been called in the middle of the night for emergency situations like broken water pipes and since I was available I could walk the tenant thru turning the water off, sometimes with the water cut off by the leak, other times by the main water shut off to the unit.
Sometimes I’ve been able to keep a major flood from disrupting the lives of many tenants in other units in the same building by this simple communication, and sometimes not.
I’ve had as many as four units flooded out in 20 minutes so it is well worth it to answer the phone and deal with any situation when the call arises.
Being a landlord is a two-way street
The lease is a two way street, you want your tenants to pay on time and as a landlord you need to make repairs in a timely manner.
I make sure tenants have my cell phone number and my email address. I tell them to CALL ME, not text or email, for an emergency but routine maintenance can be dealt with via email.
Then I follow up with a call to tenant to let them know I realize there is a problem. Then I try to refine the problem in my mind. That way I know the appropriate repair person to call and will have the repair person schedule with tenant, if they wish to be home for repair.
Strive for mutual respect with a tenant
The relationship with tenants that I strive for is professional with mutual respect.
The tenants know I want them to live happily in the property and to make sure that everything associated with the property works properly. This is covered on the first day of the lease when we do the walk thru inspection of the property.
Any defects are noted and photographed and I orient tenants to fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, water cut offs, and how to operate any equipment in the unit they are not familiar with.
If we find something that was missed upon prior inspection by the “punch out” crew making the unit ready for occupancy, that is put on list for immediate repair or correction.
Take time with this process and look everywhere, so any problems are documented and not blamed on tenants who did not cause the problem. And on the other hand, find out and document what is proper and should be charged to tenants who DID cause the need for a repair.
Also, if you are renting a property that requires landscaping or pool maintenance, I, as landlord, take care of that maintenance, so that I know my property will always look good and the pool, a major asset, will be properly cared for.
In summary, good clear communication with written expectations (lease, rules and regulations), will help this relationship be a good, and rewarding one.
About the author:
“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.