Five Tips for Being a Successful Landlord
- Start Your Landlord/Tenant Relationship On the Right Foot
There are a variety of steps you can take to ensure new tenants feel welcome and valued at your property. You can give them a “Welcome to the Area” brochure or pamphlet with a list of local stores, restaurants, services, utilities, etc., so they have an easier time adjusting. This is helpful both if they’re new to the area or renting their first apartment.
You can also list some tips or instructions that are relevant to this specific property, such as where to take out the trash, what to do if they have a repair/maintenance issue, where most people get their cable and wifi, etc.
Another easy way to build a positive relationship is to write a welcome note: it doesn’t have to be a lengthy letter. Just make sure they know you’re happy to have them and provide your contact information in case they need anything.
And why not go the extra mile (in an inexpensive way)? Leave some toilet paper and a soap dispenser in the bathroom and put a few rolls of paper towels and all-purpose cleaner on the counters. These items may be forgotten or not yet purchased in the move and will be appreciated.
- Make Sure You Are Accessible
Providing a warm welcome is important - but don’t disappear after this. Your tenants need to know that you are accessible and responsive to their concerns. Again, make sure they have your contact information, including a phone number they can call or text. While you may field some “waste-of-time” calls, it is important to maintain that relationship. It’s also critical that you are made aware of any problems that could become larger and more expensive if left unchecked (like a flooded toilet or leaking roof!).
Be as communicative and clear as possible, especially when it comes to the lease. Walk people through the terms, make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities and explain what your rights and responsibilities are. The goal is to be transparent.
Above all: when a tenant contacts you, respond promptly. Nothing is worse than having a serious issue and a landlord who is MIA. It’s not always possible to reply immediately, but make every effort. You should also have an emergency line they can contact during off-hours, as well as a contact person they can call if you are out of town, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable.
- Get Digital
Offering online services is already a must! If tenants cannot sign leases or pay their rent online, consider adding these features as soon as you can. It is a great way to boost convenience, and convenience is always a powerful selling point. It may also make the process more seamless and faster for all sides, which is a bonus for you.
Be sure to keep electronic copies of all documents, including leases, rental instructions, etc. This way, you have backups (and backups for the backups) in case you, or your tenants, need them.
Another way you can boost your profile as a landlord is to pay attention to your online ratings and reviews. When people are looking for rental properties, they turn to Yelp, ReviewMyLandlord, and other resources for peer input. Encourage satisfied tenants to leave reviews and take a look at your online presence now and again. If there is a negative review, can you address it and turn it into a positive? If not, do not engage in a pointless internet war. This reflects poorly on you. Instead, focus on the positive.
- Keep Calm and Landlord On
Acting in a calm, consistent manner is essential. There are bound to be disputes. When these occur, look to the lease. Follow the guidelines that are detailed here as it is a legal document to which both parties agreed. If there are issues that are outside the lease’s purview, make sure to check applicable laws for guidance.
In any event, keep your cool. If there is a problem, work towards a solution. Do not take it personally - and do not become fodder for a YouTube “crazy landlord” video by yelling, swearing, or threatening to withhold rights or services. At the end of the day, these are your tenants, not your friends, and certainly not your enemies. You should have a professional relationship with both respect and sufficient emotional distance.
- Get Help
If you do not live in close proximity to your property or do not have the time, interest, or capacity to handle every detail involved in being a landlord, do not hesitate to get some help. Professional property managers can take the burden off by handling day to day issues, marketing your property, welcoming tenants, fielding requests for maintenance/repairs, collecting rent, settling disputes, and other tasks.
When you are a great landlord, you can save untold time, money, and, of course, aggravation. If you would like a professional property manager on your team, contact Asheville Phoenix Properties today.