Many people today earn decent enough incomes by renting out their properties. Some use it as a strategy to earn their partial mortgage payments through rent while others are in the business of managing and renting out apartment buildings, town-home communities, and condominiums.
Whether your rental operation is big or small, there is no doubt that the quality of a tenant is extremely important. When you do find good tenants, it is well-worth your time and money to ensure you can retain them. One of the easiest ways of retaining tenants is by maintaining your property and providing exceptional service.
Here are some great tips on how to be a successful landlord:
Make Timely Repairs:
One of the biggest pet peeves of tenants are landlords that do not make timely repairs. Therefore, as a landlord, if you are notified of something that is not working properly, is broken or needs to be replaced, make the required repairs as soon as possible. Keep in mind that delays can result in your tenants becoming disgruntled and dissatisfied. In addition, they may withhold rent or sue you for an injury related to a defective appliance, broken steps etc.
Minimize Your Turnover
This can simply be achieved by keeping the property clean, tidy and safe. This may mean cutting the grass regularly, picking up trash, replacing carpets and painting the building. Most of these chores do not require a lot of money but only labor. If done properly and regularly, you can ensure that both your property and your tenants fare well in the long-run.
Make sure your property is secure as this not only keeps the tenants safe, it prevents outsiders from damaging your investment. Premises can be secured through fencing, a proper lighting system and/or video surveillance. The safer your tenants feel, the more likely they are to stay long-term.
Sometimes you may have a water leak or a broken stairwell. If this is the case, make sure you notify your tenants about the hazards. Place clear signs that are visible for all to see and ensure there are no mishaps. The last thing you want is to be sued by the tenant for any injury that may occur due to this hazard.
Insure the Property:
No matter how perfectly you run your rental property, get adequate liability and property insurance. We live in a world where people are happy to sue at the drop of a dime. You want enough insurance to protect you from any injuries suffered by your tenant, damage to your rental property (fire, vandalism, burglary) or any type of discrimination lawsuit.
Do Not Increase Rent Abruptly:
One of the most common reasons why landlords lose tenants is a sudden increase in rent. This is not to say you can’t ever increase the rent. You can, as long as you do it strategically. Alert the tenants of a rent increase in the near future and give them sufficient time to settle to that fact. Increasing rent requires a delicate balance between your property's’ value and what your tenant can afford. When you decide to increase the rent, conduct a rent survey to find out the average rent in the surrounding area. Make sure you're not overpricing or you risk losing your tenants.
Do not penalize tenants for every little mistake or slightly delayed rental payments. Be kind and show some respect and in turn, these tenants will always look after your property and respect you in return. This does not mean you let them stay for free. Be sure to communicate your rental policies. Make sure they know you are running a business but being understanding once in a while is not going to harm you in any way.
Avoid Legal Situations:
No matter how good a landlord you are, there will always be disputes with some tenants. The best way to get around these hassles is to be patient and resolve these issues amicably. Going to court is an expensive undertaking- and there really is no sense in evicting people on minor issues.Therefore, if the issue at hand can be dealt with internally, do it and come to a compromise that is mutually beneficial for both you and the tenant. If there is money involved, try small claims court first.
These tips outline how landlords can retain tenants by simply maintaining their property, being civil and understanding and resolving issues internally instead of seeking resolutions in court at the first sign of an issue. By following these tips you'll be able to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
If this seems like a lot of work, an alternative is to hire a competent property management company to maintain your rental property and deal with tenants. If this interests you contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your real estate business.