Do You Want Better Tenants? Work on Being a Better LandlordBy Paul Esajian on September 27, 2019
Every landlord wants perfect tenants that pay on time, take care of the property and never make a ripple. Finding these is often much easier said than done. All it takes is one bad tenant to have a lasting impact on the property. In most cases the quality of the tenant is a direct reflection of the landlord. Not only can you avoid many bad tenants simply by screening, but you also influence tenants by your actions. If you are prompt to handle maintenance requests and keep your property updated, your tenant will often follow suit. On the flip side if you are lazy with responses your tenant will be frustrated and it will reflect on how they act towards you and the property. Better tenants are often a byproduct of better landlords. Here are five things you can do be a better landlord.
- Return Calls And Emails: Being busy is not an excuse to avoid returning calls and emails. Yes, we are all busy and have other things going on, but it doesn’t mean you can neglect your tenants. A tenant must be treated as a precious asset that can help impact your bottom line. If they have a quick question about the lease, the property or anything else you need to spend the five minutes and see what the question is. Sure, there are some tenants who will get annoying after a while, but how much time does talking to them really take? By ignoring a text or call you can make a simple issue much more complicated. A running toilet can end up costing your hundreds when you get the water bill. A noise in the dryer can turn out be a blocked vent. The point is that nobody is too busy not to respond to your tenants, even if you think they are annoying.
- Get On Repairs: This is the simplest, and most obvious, thing you can do to appease your tenants and take care of your property. If your tenant calls to complain about a clogged toilet or a broken dishwasher you need to get right on it. Explain to your tenants that there is a 24-hour window to get things done, but you better do your part. Think about how you would feel if you rented a one-bedroom unit and the toilet wasn’t working for two or three days. You would probably feel frustrated and angry at your landlord. You would be resentful and look for subtle ways to get back at them. Eventually you would just stop calling them and let minor items pile up. As a landlord you need to accept the fact that there will be maintenance regardless of the tenants or the property. Instead of pointing fingers or assigning blame you need to act. This doesn’t mean you should drop everything you are doing and go right to the property, but you should have people on your team who can.
- Expedite End Of Lease: The end of any lease is usually filled with tense conversations and stern warnings about the property. You need to accept that regardless of how much information you provide your tenant, things will not always be perfect. There is a difference between a professional clean and a tenant clean. There will be minor wear and tear in every lease, that should not be deducted in the security. If you nickel and dime your tenants, you may face some scrutiny if they decide to post something on social media. A $50 charge is not worth ruining your reputation over. Once you go through the property you should return the security in an expedited fashion. This doesn’t mean you should cut a check at the walk through, but you shouldn’t make them wait 30 days either. Always do your due diligence, but once you evaluate the property cut the check and move on to your next lease.
- Quick Snow Removal: Depending on your lease and where the property is located you may be responsible for the snow removal. This is regularly one of the most difficult areas of managing a rental property. You need to balance getting the snow removed as quickly as possible, while still being realistic. There are plenty of factors at play including the amount of snow, when the snow stops and where the snow can be pushed. The bottom line is you can’t forget about your tenants and leave them stranded. You should set up a protocol for how and when the snow will be removed. It is a good idea to put the tenants in touch with the removal company, so they can talk first hand. As long as your tenants know what is going on and are not stranded for days they will appreciate it.
- Rethink Late Fees: As a landlord you need to pick and choose your battles. There are many landlords who will tell you that you need to set the tone with your tenants from day one and let them know who is boss. If they are late, even one day, impose whatever fee is listed on the lease. As much as this may work for some, it doesn’t work for everyone. You have every right to impose the fee, but it may not be the best move in the big picture. By collecting $50 it may have a counter effect from what you are trying to accomplish. You will end up ruining the relationship over $50 instead of scaring your tenant to pay on time. Run your property how you wish, but at least consider loosening up your late fees.
Tweaking how you manage your property has a direct impact on your tenants. There are many ways of doing this, but what cannot be argued is that better landlords often produce better tenants.