Generally, being an exceptional landlord means that you are likely to attract better tenants. It also means that your tenants will be happy, and we all know that happy tenants will stay for longer periods of time. A landlord will normally spend an average of 20 to 40 hours filling one vacancy. Some required tasks during this process include advertisement, apartment viewing, checking the tenant credit reports and processing the lease. As a landlord, having a well-behaved, trouble-free tenant can save your hundreds of valuable man-hours in a single year.
In order to get and maintain quality tenants, you need to be a great landlord. This means treating the tenants as customers, striving to meet their needs and following the law throughout. To be an awesome landlord, follow these simple tips:
Welcoming Tenants Properly
Assist the tenant with settling in.
The tenant is most probably new to the area. Assist them to adjust quickly by offering an insider’s view of the locality. To ease their transition, provide them with a printout that shows the directions to various essential facilities such as local pharmacies, grocery shops and so on. You can even get a list from an online map service. Once you get the printout for the first time, you will use it repeatedly for future tenants without having to recreate the list again.
Prepare a welcome letter.
Prepare a brief welcome note for the tenant, reiterating how pleased you are to receive them. This will set a good tone for the relationship between yourself (the lessor) and the tenant(the lessee). Ensure that you write down your contact details again as a precaution in case it is needed. Many, if not all, tenants will appreciate this gesture. Make the tenant aware of any particular or useful instructions that will make settling easier for them, for instance, the proper time for trash pickup or the contact information for cable installers and so on.
Pre-stock the bathrooms with some necessities.
Moving is stressful, and the tenant is likely to forget to buy some necessities like toilet paper. Place a soap dispenser or toilet paper in each bathroom in the house or apartment and the tenant will be grateful for your concern. You can also leave a multi-purpose cleaner and some paper towels. This will motivate them to ensure that the place remains clean and also make them aware of how much you value cleanliness. Nevertheless, if the house needs some thorough cleaning before the tenant arrives, get a proper cleaning crew.
Do not overlook address issues.
To show that you are not one to ignore the smaller details, include the address information of their unit or the post office’s change-of-address details in your welcome letter. They will respect the amount of thought you put in this and they will also be impressed by your foresight. This will depict you as a focused and responsible landlord, and this can only be a good thing. When they move out, again give change-of-address instructions to prevent the delivery of mail that needs to forwarded or thrown away.
Portraying Your Professionalism
Present yourself properly.
First impressions matter greatly. During your first meeting with a tenant or when they are about to start their tenancy, it is absolutely imperative that you present yourself in a neat and orderly fashion. When you do this, the tenants will get the impression that they are required to also keep the unit clean and organized.
Adhere to the lease guidelines.
Always adhere to the lease guidelines whenever a problem arises. If there are some gray areas that were not addressed by the lease, refer to the local ordinances or check the local landlords’ forums to get tips and learn about best practices. This way, if you have any objections about a particular issue, you will be within your rights and you can argue your case from a point of knowledge.
Remain calm if there are problems.
When a disagreement arises with your tenant, whether it is due to non-payment of rent or other issues, always stay calm. You do not want to feature in a YouTube clip or be the focus of a viral story where you are described as a crazy landlord. Avoid yelling or swearing at your tenants. Note that it is illegal to deny the tenants their rights or even threaten them. Always view the tenant as your valued customer.
While it is great to have a good professional landlord-tenant relationship, remember to set boundaries. Always ensure that the relationship is purely business in nature. Maintain an emotional distance with them in case you have to evict them or one party sues the other in future. Never forget that ultimately the bottom line is the most important thing to you.
Do not ignore requests.
Follow the lease guidelines always and reply to all maintenance requests. The tenants will feel respected and as a result, they will regard you as a courteous and professional individual.
Ensure that you are always reachable.
You must be available when any tenant needs to talk to you. So, give them one or all of your telephone numbers and an email address at the very minimum. Of course, they should not abuse this privilege but they must reach you if an emergency occurs at night or even during the day. In any case, even if it is only a toilet that is overflowing, you need to ensure that you are able to be reached easily so as to prevent major damages to the unit.
Discuss the lease comprehensively.
You can portray yourself as an excellent landlord even before a tenant has moved in. When signing the lease, take them through the lease clauses. Discuss with them the rights and responsibilities of both parties in the agreement. This will help to bring everything out in the open from the word go and show the tenant that you are trustworthy.
Respond in a timely manner.
Respond to tenant phone calls and email as soon as you can. Always remember that any interaction with the tenant is a business transaction, regardless of how well you know each other. In business, a quick response is a sign of sound business etiquette. Notify the tenant beforehand if you expect to be away, say, on a vacation. This makes them aware that your response to any communication may not be as prompt as before.
Monitor your online profile.
There are several review sites such as Yelp where tenants can post reviews of your units and services. Ensure that you make an effort to monitor these sites.When you get a bad review and the website enables you to respond, remember to address the issue. In case you get along with some of the tenants, urge them to write a review about you. On the other hand, if there are no online reviews about you, it is advisable to get some. This way, many tenants will affirm their impressions about you or create their own impressions even before you meet. If you have some old tenants, call and request them to write a summarized online review about you. Meanwhile, try not to be too stressed out about it. Any landlord will most likely get a bad review now and then.
Provide innovative online services.
You can offer innovative services such as online rent collection or online signing of leases to simplify things and increase convenience for your tenants. Renting your units will be a more attractive idea to them just because of how easy it will be. Moreover, seamless payment of rent makes perfect business sense.
Make electronic records.
You must have electronic records of all signed documents pertaining to your rental business. This is because a very important document can go missing at any time. Give your tenants copies of all the electronic documents relating to them. Preferably, attach all such documents in a single email that they can download and save, and they will undoubtedly appreciate it.
If you follow the tips outlined above you, will be well on your way to becoming the best landlord ever for your tenants.
Marinaccio Law serves clients in business disputes and transactions, civil litigation,estate planning and probate and trust administration, landlord tenant matters, and real estate litigation and transactions. Whether it a dispute on a real estate matter, setting up a small business, filing for bankruptcy, or creating an estate plan, Marinaccio Law will provide individual attention in helping to achieve its clients’ goals. Give us a call today and we’ll discuss the best options for you and your specific situation. Phone: (818) 839-5220 or visit our website at http://www.marinacciolaw.com .
Image courtesy of Grant Hollingworth, flickr, Creative Commons.