Tips on how to be a good landlord
While purchasing an investment property might seem like an excellent way to create passive income, being a landlord is a far from passive occupation. From tenants who constantly complain, those who don’t pay their rent, and even those who seriously damage a property, becoming a landlord comes with additional stress and responsibilities.
Great landlords attract great tenants, however. By creating meaningful connections with your tenants, following the law, and keeping up to date with issues on the property, it is possible to get – and keep – good tenants. The following five tips can help you become a better landlord.
1. Know the laws
Every state has unique laws between landlords and tenants. These laws cover everything from rent to tenant’s rights to evictions. Copies of these laws are available at any Department of Housing office, as well as on the state’s Department of Housing website. Knowing the laws can help prevent landlord’s from landing in civil court with an extremely unhappy tenant.
2. Customize the lease
There are standard lease forms available at any office supply store – or through a quick Google search. Customizing the lease agreement to the specific property, however, can help avoid future conflict with the tenant. In addition to basics such as rent, security deposit, and other legal tenant rights, make sure to spell out any specific rules you have for the property. This can include what changes or repairs can be made to the home, weight limits on pets, rules for shared space, and more. A clear-cut lease can prevent misunderstandings and eliminate any grey areas.
3. Make rent the priority
Rent is your revenue. While many new landlords want to avoid being “mean”, it is important to pursue rent – and any accompanying late fees. When the rent is due, what the late fees are, and when eviction proceedings will be started should all have been carefully spelled out in the lease agreement.
4. … But be compassionate
If a tenant is being open and communicative about difficulties they are having, tap into your compassionate side. Being willing to work with a good tenant during a tough time, such as a loss of job or divorce, will make them more likely to renew their lease or agree to a small rent increase.
5. Make repairs promptly
If a tenant calls with a repair, set up a time to come inspect the damage; check to see if your state requires legal notice before you can enter a property. Once the damage has been assessed, make repairs as soon as possible. In addition to keeping your tenant happy, some states allow tenants to deduct repair costs from their rent if they are not completed in a timely manner.