While property management takes business expertise, personal skills are just as important. The best landlords know how to combine both by incorporating the following principles.
Preparing the Lease Agreement
Maintaining the Property
One of the biggest responsibilities of a good landlord is upholding a regular maintenance schedule. The following items need preventive maintenance: electrical and gas mechanisms, water heaters, sanitation and heating systems. Additionally, the landlord is responsible for arranging annual safety inspections by gas fitters and electricians. He also needs to ensure that security and safety measures like fire extinguishers, alarms, and locks are fully operational.
Responding to Repair Requests Promptly
When things do break down, it is rarely at the landlord’s convenience. Even if a phone call comes in the middle of the night or while at work, he needs to handle the call. Timely repairs are required whether the landlord sees them as minor or not. If there is a delay in getting something fixed, use good communication skills to convey the reasons for the holdup and state when repairs will be made. Keep in contact with the tenant until the issue is resolved.
Observing Extra Courtesy
While common courtesy should be extended to anyone, landlords often see their roles as authoritative and treat tenants like subjects. Since renters are truly paying customers, they should be treated with extra courtesy, especially when things go wrong. Tenants commonly hesitate in bringing repair issues to the landlord’s attention out of fear. Treating them with courtesy can prevents inexpensive problems from turning into expensive ones.
Treating Tenants as Individuals
While it is easy to expect the worst, especially if the landlord had bad prior experiences, it serves no purpose to treat all tenants alike by assuming the worst. For example, a specific tenant may have to pay rent late once because of an emergency. In this case, evaluate the situation based on how he handles it. If the renter gives plenty of notice and follows up appropriately, treat him with the credibility he deserves.
Another tenant may habitually pay late and avoid communication. In this situation treat him according to his behavior by enforcing the terms of the lease agreement.
The same concept applies to repairs. Do not assume something broke down because the tenant was careless. A landlord’s major responsibility is to keep everything in working order. That is why it is important to have a properly formatted inventory sheet and checklist at the time of move-in for every tenant. While having this list does not protect things from breaking down of course, it maintains order and discourages tenants from making false reports.
Inspecting the Property
Since many renters may see regular inspections as an invasion of privacy, state the terms of these assessments clearly in the lease agreement. Usually regular inspections occur every six months. Give at least 24 hours of notice and offer different time options in respect to work schedules and private lives.
Proper preventative maintenance and completing timely repairs will increase property values and attract a better clientele. Treating tenants with courtesy will give landlords a good reputation to attract future occupants. These combined efforts will also keep current renters from moving out and keeping the rental income flowing without interruptions.
For more info on being a good landlord, here’s a video from Damon Thompson:
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